Markin writes by way of introduction

Monday, September 10, 2018

Recently, on June 25, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, which is a prescription drug containing cannabidiol (CBD) isolate. Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved medicine that contains plant-derived, non-synthetic cannabinoids. The drug is used for treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe types of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. CBD is a chemical component of the cannabis sativa plant, also known commonly as marijuana. Another form of the cannabis sativa plant is hemp. Marijuana and hemp contain both CBD and tetrahydrocannibol (THC) components. The difference between marijuana and hemp is the amount of THC that each plant produces. While marijuana can produce up to 30% of THC, hemp can produce no more than 0.3%. Hence, the critical difference is that hemp has no psychoactive effect. Moreover, the Ninth Circuit also recently ruled that CBD derived from hemp is not a controlled substance.

Though the recent approvals do not change the state of the law with respect to marijuana, the tides are slowly changing. Epidiolex is now the first FDA-approved drug that contains substance derived from marijuana. It is therefore possible that the approval of Epidiolex may lead the Drug Enforcement Administration to review and reschedule the status of cannabinoids under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

Even though federal law still prohibits the sale, distribution, dissemination, and possession of marijuana, an increasing percentage of Americans are warming up to legalizing marijuana. A recent poll by Gallup, from October of 2017, shows that 64% of American support the idea of legalizing marijuana. On the state level, thirty states and the District of Columbia have broadly legalized medical marijuana. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana. Nonetheless, marijuana’s quasi-legality creates legal obstacles for business owners who seek to enter the marijuana industry and who wish to protect their brand name and reputation.

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