Cannabidiol is available in Colorado health food stores, but the state’s marijuana laws prevent cannabis product to be sold in pharmacies. A bill moving through the Statehouse would allow for GW Pharmaceuticals’ CBD Epidiolex drug to be prescribed and sold in Colorado pharmacies.
A House committee passed the “Food and Drug Administration Cannabidoil Drug Use” on March 20th, 2018 with a 9-0 vote. The unanimous approval was followed by three hours of debate and public comments that saw amendments added to address concerns raised by the hemp and marijuana industries.
The bill’s backers say the bill would make a pathway for doctors to prescribe Epidiolex to patients if the CBD product is given the go-ahead by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That decision could be reached as soon as June 2018.
GW Pharmaceuticals, a London-based company, says they simply want its medicine to be prescribed to patients, such as children, who suffer from rare epilepsy disorders. But many members of Colorado’s hemp industry say that they are concerned that lawmakers may actually be paving a “superhighway” for a foreign pharmaceutical company to monopolize the CBD market.
Luke Johnson, founder of Cloud CO Farms, a hemp-cultivation, processing and CBD extraction company, said this of the new bill: “Make no mistake, this bill is written as an attempt to control the [CBD] industry.”
Johnson was among those in the hemp industry who vocalized concerns and fears at the Statehouse over the CBD debate. Does FDA approval hand Big Pharma legal control of the cannabis compound and stymie artisanal producers?
The 9th District Circuit Court of Appeals could soon have its say in the debate. A panel of judges is anticipated to issue an opinion in the Hemp Industries Association case confronting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s new rule on marijuana extracts.
The case’s resolution and a ruling on Epidiolex will be decided without regard to Colorado legislators’ actions. Although, Colorado may continue to exercise its 10th Amendment rights with further legislation on cannabis.
The story is still developing as the stakeholder process is expected to continue while the bill passes through the House.