This Week in CBD: October 12, 2018
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) will consider reclassifying cannabis when they meet in Geneva next month. And as part of this process, the committee is gathering information from the public.
As a result, the FDA is seeking public comments on whether cannabis should be reclassified under international treaties.
Right now, these international treaties are the reason that the FDA recommended that Epidiolex, a new CBD drug, be classified in the least restrictive category of controlled substances. If these treaties were to change, the FDA said in a memo, there would be no reason to control CBD at all.
After the ECDD meets, the WHO will make a recommendation to the UN, which may lead to reclassifying cannabis under international law. And this would remove a major obstacle to legal medical cannabis in the US.
But while the international legal community looks at relaxing restrictions on cannabis, law enforcement officials in Ohio and Alabama are taking a hardline stance on CBD retailers and consumers.
US News reports that the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force will begin issuing warnings to businesses that sell CBD products in Tuscaloosa County.
The task force plans to visit these stores and provide copies of the law. This will give businesses an opportunity to remove CBD products from their shelves, rather than having inventory seized by law enforcement.
According to Tony Bryan, of The CBD Oil Store in Northport, Alabama, this will put a significant burden on his customers:
“Many of the people in our community are coming and getting the relief they’re looking for. I think it’s heartbreaking for them. It pulls on my heartstrings when I see the change people are having in their quality of life, which has improved. Those are the people who will suffer the most. They’re going to continue to get the products, it’s that simple.”
And in Ohio, consumers are bearing the brunt of law enforcement, while retailers continue to stock their shelves with CBD products.
Last July, Robert Faulkner was arrested after a traffic stop in Richland County, Ohio, for possessing CBD oil. According to Cleveland 19, Faulkner purchased what he thought was a legal product from a store in Columbus. “I tried it for my anxiety,” he said. “It didn’t work for me at that particular time and I just threw it in the back on my truck.”
Now Faulkner faces two counts of aggravated possession of drugs. After spending four days in jail, he now has to wear an ankle monitor and check in with a probation officer while he awaits a grand jury hearing.
Meanwhile, Canada is preparing for legal adult-use cannabis. And with the new policy taking effect next week, other businesses and agencies are refining their policies around cannabis.
For example, Marketwatch reported that Facebook is changing how their algorithm handles cannabis search results this week.
Where the social network had been blocking search results for terms related to “marijuana” and “cannabis,” users searching for these terms will start seeing some cannabis pages in their results.
Specifically, Facebook will now verify cannabis-related pages that meet the network’s guidelines. These pages will get a gray verification symbol, and will be included in search results.
And even the US government is easing up on one harsh cannabis policy in advance of Canada’s new adult use market.
US Customs and Border Protection released a document clarifying its position on Canadian citizens who work in the Cannabis industry. Previous comments from officials had created concerns that anyone working in the industry could be banned for life from entering the US.
The release states that Canadian citizens who work in the industry will be allowed to enter the country, but only if they are coming to the US for “reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry.”
In France, legal questions have forced some CBD shops to close. Some store owners have been detained, or have received letters from the ministry of Justice threatening them with prosecution for “illegal pharmacy” operations.
This has made the business too risky for at least five shops which have recently shuttered their storefronts.
The legal ambiguities around cannabis make retail sales especially important to the beauty and wellness markets, according to an article in this week’s Glossy.
Because Google and Facebook don’t allow any cannabis-related advertising, companies in the industry have to get creative to reach customers. And brick-and-mortar retail has been key for some brands, whether that means opening their own stores, or partnering with a larger retail-space player.
For example, beauty products may form partnerships with retailers like Sephora in order to place their products in front of a broader range of customers.
Midterm elections in the US are less than a month away, so it’s a great time to get educated on your representatives’ cannabis voting record.
That’s why the National Cannabis Industry Association has released a congressional scorecard to let voters know how members of congress have voted on key cannabis reform amendments.
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