A major pharmaceutical company is attempting to push two bills through two state legislatures which would effectively give them a monopoly over local CBD markets.
GW Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiary Greenwich BioSciences are pushing two very similar CBD bills forward, one in South Dakota and another in Nebraska, which would make CBD legal, but only in the form of one patented extract pharmaceutical that is manufactured and sold by the corporation.
In a great piece of political cannabis reporting, Leafly News discovered the two bills. The bill in South Dakota went into a committee hearing last week. SB 95 would change the legal definition of marijuana in the state so that cannabidiol no longer appeared in it, then re-schedule CBD from a Schedule I to a Schedule IV controlled substance.
That all sounds like good news, except that the re-scheduling would only apply to CBD products which have been approved by the FDA. It just so happens that Greenwich BioSciences makes the only widely known CBD product which is in the process of getting FDA approval. That means that, if the bill passed, the epilepsy medication Epidiolex (or, as GW Pharm likes to put it, “Epidiolex®”) would be the only CBD medicine you could legally buy or sell in the area.
The bill in Oklahoma is taken from the same template.
Meanwhile, GW Pharma looks like it might be gearing up to make the same moves in several other states. Leafly reports that the company and its subsidiary are conducting a “national lobbyist hiring spree” and that they have secured lobbyists and legal support in Wisconsin (where a CBD extract bill was just passed), Minnesota, Florida, Washington state, Idaho, and Arizona.
The problem with the company’s plan (besides it just generally sounding evil) is that it might not be very beneficial for patients. A medication which isolates CBD from the rest of the plant loses marijuanas so-called “entourage effect” where other cannabinoids assist in the medicinal benefits of CBD.
“SB 95 will block all current and readily-available CBD options for South Dakota’s children,” Melissa Mentele, the chairperson of marijuana reform group New Approach South Dakota, told Leafly. “It will make Epidiolex the only option. As we know, one medicine does not work for all patients. We can’t take away options for these catastrophically ill children and their families.”