One bill currently proposed in Colorado is meeting with some open controversy because of its implications for the involvement of large pharmaceutical companies in the cannabis industry. HB 18-1187, which concerns pharmaceutical products containing the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD), states that if the federal Food & Drug Administration “approves a prescription medicine that contains cannabidiol, thereafter, prescribing, dispensing, transporting, possessing, and using that prescription drug is legal in Colorado.”

This is clearly a reference to Epidiolex, a CBD-based pharmaceutical from the UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals, which producers expect to win FDA approval this year, as the In-Pharma website notes.

The Southern Colorado Cannabis Council (SoCoCC) has been closely following the legislation. The organization’s executive director Jason Warf told Cannabis Now that he wants legislation that will make sure the little guy is protected. While about 30 percent of the retail cannabis outlets in Colorado are “conglomerates or chain stores,” Warf says, “the majority of our industry is mom-and-pop, and the truth is there are still some financial restraints on most of them.”

The SoCoCC met with lawmakers and pharmaceutical industry lobbyists to work out protections in the bill for local CBD producers. Warf says his organization is walking the fine line of supporting those changes to the legislation while remaining neutral on the bill itself.

On March 21, the revised bill was passed unanimously by House Public Healthcare and Human Services committee.

The Colorado Hemp Industries Association (COHIA) says it opposed the initial draft of the bill, but is now supporting it with caveats. A COHIA statement says the organization “is working to include language that guarantees protection for hemp-based CBD companies operating lawfully in the state of Colorado. As the hemp industry continues to mature across the country, we will have to work with pharma companies seeking market space.”