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National News - December 2019

Warning Sent By FDA
Regarding CBD Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to 15 companies on November 25, stating that they have violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) by illegally marketing and selling products containing CBD. The FDA has stated, “Cannabis and cannabis-derived products claiming in their marketing and promotional materials that they’re intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases are considered new drugs or new animal drugs and must go through the FDA drug approval process for human or animal use before they are marketed in the U.S. … Additionally, it’s unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.” Earlier this year 7 other companies also received letters issued by the agency. As of right now, most commercially sold CBD products are unregulated by the FDA, unlike the CBD products sold in state-licensed provisioning centers which are subject to state regulations and requirements such as lab tests on their products. FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D. says “We recognize the significant public interest in CBD and we must work together with stakeholders and industry to fill in the knowledge gaps about the science, safety and quality of many of these products.”

Massachusetts Adult-Use
Sales on Track to $1b

Hitting almost $400 million in sales for it’s first official year of adult-use is impressive considering there are only 36 licensed shops in Massachusetts.  Add to that the fact that none of them are in Boston, the most heavily populated area of the state, and you have solid looking numbers.

Averaging $46 million in sales per month from August to October means they could potentially breach $400 million by 2019’s end, running the numbers forward places them at over $1 billion by 2021.

Put into perspective, Colorado’s recreational market launched in 2014 with 306 stores and barely reached $300 million in sales for the year.

Massachusetts lack of viable purchasing locations has resulted in long lines, short supply, and high prices.  Despite all this, sales march on.

Vermont Launches Weed
Education Website

The Vermont Health Department has launched a marijuana education site called “Let’s Talk Cannabis”.  Their intent is to educate the citizens about how marijuana could impact their overall health.

Reported to include science-based information ranging from the effects on youth and people who are pregnant, to responsible use among adults, it also includes information for health care providers.

“With changes in the legal landscape surrounding possesion and use, it’s important that people understand how it can affect their health,” said Vermont’s health commissioner, Dr. Mark Levine, in a recent press release.  “As with all substance use, consumption of cannabis can be unhealthy.  Let’s Talk Cannabis gives Vermonters the information they need to make safe and informed choices.”

With 24% of Vermont high school students responding to a survey by saying they used marijuana in the past 30 days, officials are focused on the youth.  “Marijuana use changes teens’ brains, bodies and behaviors,” Levine stated.  The website aims to “provide relatable information to young Vermonters, so they can understand how the drug influences their bodies and thinking.”  

According to the site, this campaign was adapted from educational resources from the California Department of Public Health.  To see for yourself, visit:

House Panel Approves Bill
to Legalize at Federal Level

The House Judiciary Committee approved 24 to 10 a bill to remove marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act, effectively legalizing it at the federal level.  This would give an official federal thumbs up to states enacting their own cannabis policies as well as well as incentivise them to clear criminal records.

According to the America Civil Liberties Union, weed arrests comprise over 50% of all drug related arrests in the United States.  Meanwhile a Pew Research Center poll determined that a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.

The bill next moves to the Senate, where Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell will decide whether or not to take up the bill.  “I don’t think a majority of the Republicans will support this bill,” stated Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, “It is even less likely that the Senate would take it up.  Therefore, I would just suggest that we deal with other bills that we can get a much larger bipartisan support from.”

Chairman Rep. Jarrold Nadler took a more middle of the road approach, “I don’t think it is a good idea ... to say, ‘the Senate won’t take this bill’.  When the House passes a bill, it’s part of a continuing process.  It’s not the end of a process.”

Both NORML and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws are hailing this as the “biggest marijuana news of the year.”

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