A Big Week of Changes in Cannabis Law

Despite continued animosity by U.S. Department of Justice regarding marijuana and marijuana-based products, at least one branch of the federal government decided that the time was right to approve the use of a drug made from cannabidiol. As many of you know from our earlier posts, U.K. company GW Pharmaceuticals Plc, created a drug to treat seizures associated with two types of epilepsy that typically affect children. After providing substantial evidence to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on Monday, June 25, 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex.

The drug is designed to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, in patients age two and older. These particular syndromes are resistant to various other treatments and Dravet syndrome has a mortality rate of almost 20 percent in children with syndrome, most of whom pass away before reaching adulthood.

In addition to this news, on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, Oklahoma voted to legalize medical marijuana for use in their state. While access to the drug is still limited until the Oklahoma Department of Health can finalize all the regulations governing its production and dispensing, this vote marks the 30th state to have now approved the use of medical marijuana.

And in future news, other companies are actively testing breathalyzers that purport to be able to identify the amount of cannabis in a person’s system. With more states legalizing cannabis in some way, shape or form, this next development should be closely followed. Companies like Hound Labs, a research and device company, claim they have developed breath-measurement technology to measure not only a person’s marijuana use, but also their alcohol use. Another company, Cannabix Technologies, Inc. states that it is actively developing breath testing technology that would allow for the detection of marijuana during impaired driving stops. Cannabix’s technology would test for recent use of cannabis, as opposed to the more invasive urine or saliva testing that requires laboratory testing.

Regardless of whether these companies or others develop a working breathalyzer test for use in suspected drugged driving stops, the continued progress within the cannabis field and cannabis legal landscape is fast-moving. We continue to monitor all these changes so that our clients are aware of how their businesses may be affected.

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