The FDA-approved CBD drug for epilepsy is going to cost $32,500 a year. A CBD case in North Dakota is going to test the DEA’s interpretation of the law. A new bill in Congress hopes to protect federal employees from losing their jobs for using medical marijuana. Also: A new mother had her child kept away from her for five days because she tested positive for opiates due to eating a poppy seed bagel. 🌳
FDA-approved CBD drug will cost $32,500 a year. Epidiolex, the first plant-derived CBD drug to receive FDA approval, will be priced at $32,500 a year. The CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals said that the price is supposed to be in line with other epilepsy drugs and that “orphan drugs” often carry higher prices. The company expects that the drug will be available after the DEA reclassifies it, which is expected in late September. The Wall Street Journal 🔒 Many patients may opt to turn to less expensive sources of CBD, like those sold in health food stores or marijuana dispensaries. Julian Gangolli, president of the firm’s North America operations, said that with insurance, the drug could be substantially cheaper than CBD from the internet or dispensaries. Business Insider
A CBD case will test the DEA interpretation of the law. The North Dakota Supreme Court will hear a case concerning the sale of CBD products that will test the DEA’s interpretation of the law. Falesteni A. Abu Hamda’s drug charges for selling CBD hinged on the DEA guidance that CBD is Schedule I. Hamda tried to argue that his CBD was legal and his appeal “will force the court to review whether North Dakota authorities ‘recklessly relied upon the DEA’ in charging him in the first place.” Hamda says he was singled out for his race and that white business owners selling CBD were never charged. “I have a foreign name. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, but that’s what this is about.” Hemp Industry Daily
Congressman introduces bill to help vets access medical marijuana. U.S. rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) introduced a new bill that would protect federal employees from losing their jobs for using state-legal medical marijuana. U.S. rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) is co-sponsoring the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act. Crist announced the measure at a roundtable discussion with veterans and cannabis industry representatives. “The federal government is the largest employer of veterans; however, private cannabis use even in states that have legalized medical marijuana is prohibited in these positions,” he said. “Our veterans shouldn’t have to choose between treatment options or job opportunities.” Florida Politics
School says no to football recruit for medical cannabis oil. Auburn has long been CJ Harris’s dream school, which offered the football player a roster spot after his dad Curtis sent a video of his son to the coaches. After the team reviewed CJ’s medical records, an official called Curtis to tell him that CJ couldn’t attend Auburn if he continued to use medical cannabis oil to treat his epilepsy. The coach denies the cannabis oil was the reason why the team withdrew its invitation. CJ even went to go get drug tested to show he’d test below the 15 nanograms per milliliter threshold of the NCAA. But coaches still weren’t willing to take a chance. “It’s easy for the coaches to blame the NCAA right now and for the NCAA to blame the coaches,” said Curtis. The Washington Post
Marijuana in Massachusetts. A woman who was fired for off-duty marijuana use is hoping for a legislative fix to prevent stories like hers from happening. She told her story to lawmakers on Tuesday in hopes of a bill that would “limit employers from keeping their employees away from marijuana when they’re not on the job.” WBUR Public safety officials are teaming up with a marijuana business for a PSA against stoned driving. Mass Live Lyft is partnering with a cannabis and a police group to offer $50,000 worth of rides to combat impaired driving. WHDH
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How to break in to the cannabis industry. Cannabis education platform Green Flower is hosting a virtual summit featuring 13 professionals from all corners of the industry talking about how they landed their dream jobs. The lineup includes everyone from lawyers to doctors to marketers to cultivators who have found their own niche in the industry. To watch the virtual event from August 6 – August 19, sign up here: Green Flower
What the studies say. A new study out of Israel found evidence that medical cannabis could be helpful to children on the autism spectrum. A pediatric neurologist led the study and treated 60 children with high-CBD cannabis oil for at least seven months. Eight percent of parents reported a decrease in “problematic behaviors,” half of the children saw improved communication, and 40 percent reported significant decreases in anxiety. Leafly Another study, this time out of Pennsylvania, found that while “attitudes towards marijuana are becoming more accepting, or normalized, [youth] use has not increased.” Marijuana Moment
Flooded market, dropping prices. The dynamics of Oregon’s marijuana industry are shifting thanks to the flood of cheap cannabis into the market. What used to be a grower’s market has become a buyer’s market as retailers are able to stock up on low-priced products. Meanwhile, growers are cutting costs and eliminating staff. Marijuana Business Daily The price of marijuana in Colorado has dropped by half since 2015, which has been a boon for retailers. Pueblo county officials have extended a moratorium on retail licenses in hopes of preventing “too much product in the marketplace” and protecting existing businesses. KRDO
A proposed SF program would advance equity in the industry. A proposed government program would target the cannabis industry similar to an existing city program called CityBuild, which helps disadvantaged workers get jobs in the construction industry. CityGrow would create apprenticeship programs to help prepare individuals to work in the cannabis industry. Legislation would also require that a cannabis business must “agree that 35 percent of its new hires shall be graduates of apprenticeship programs.” One local union leader expressed support for the proposal, saying that it “may lead to actual equity for individuals from communities decimated for years by the failed war on drugs.” San Francisco Examiner
The wrong way to fight the drug war. Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs “has set back the stigmatization of addiction by 10 years,” according to one addiction counselor. “It’s scared everyone to the point that instead of seeking help, they’ve just gone underground.” Where the federal government failed, communities are trying to fill the gap. One Catholic priest, working with a local official, tried to persuade those struggling with addiction to attend a treatment program. “Fear of being killed kept the first batch to only six patients.” But enrollment grew after the priest successfully advocated for those who completed the program to be removed from government watch lists. The New York Times
Testing positive for opiates thanks to a bagel. A pregnant woman who ate a poppy seed bagel for breakfast tested positive for opiates at the hospital. Her doctor reported her to authorities and had her newborn kept away from her for five days. Eventually, authorities closed her case after realizing that hers was a “legitimate case of the poppy seed defense.” In 2013, a couple won a six-figure settlement after their newborn was taken away by child services after the child’s mother tested positive from a poppy seed bagel. BuzzFeed News
Word on the States
- In California, water regulators are helping to crack down on unlicensed cannabis farms. Los Angeles won a temporary injunction against an unlicensed dispensary.
- In Colorado, collecting data on drugged driving remains a struggle.
- In New Jersey, the head of the state review panel supports using medical marijuana to treat opioid addiction.
- In Oklahoma, the health department raised concerns about medical marijuana with lawmakers and is worried about a lack of testing requirements. A special session may be the fastest way to implement the new law. An advocacy group submitted signatures for its recreational legalization initiative after saying it didn’t have enough of them.
- In Michigan, medical marijuana dispensaries will likely have to shutter in September due to a state deadline on licensing.
- In Indiana, how one lawmaker became a marijuana advocate after visiting Illinois and Colorado.
- In Connecticut, where Democratic gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana legalization.
- In Florida, a look at the growing pains for medical marijuana in the state.
- In Nevada, Hunter S. Thompson’s Chevy Caprice will be displayed at the cannabis museum Cannabition along with other Thompson artifacts.
Word for Word
“When killers use guns and bullets the reaction is almost immediate, naming the weapon as the culprit but the real malefactor, THC, slips away unseen to kill again somewhere else. Are you getting the picture? High potency marijuana is the real killer and the gun is an innocent accomplice.” – Letter writer Bob Orleck, The Brattleboro Reformer
“A new crowdfunding platform for media makers, fans get to watch the pilot for free then bid on what they’d pay per episode for the whole season. They’re only charged if the show meets its goal by the deadline. Unfortunately, that’s likely the most interesting thing about Hollyweed. The storyline is twisty enough to keep you watching, but the rolling-paper-thin plot just barely supports it. A few of the jokes warrant laughs even through the sometimes rigid delivery and pacing.” – Chris Wallis for Marijuana Moment