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CBD-Only Legislation Will Likely Be Unworkable For Most Patients


cannabidiol cbd cannabis marijuanaBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Lawmakers in four states — Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Utah — are poised to enact legislation in the coming days/weeks aimed at providing patients, primarily children with forms of intractable epilepsy, with strains of cannabis and/or cannabis extracts high in the compound cannabidiol (CBD).

I have previously written why, in theory, these proposals will likely provide only limited relief for patients. A closer look at the text of these proposed laws indicates that, in fact, they are largely unworkable and will most likely provide no tangible relief or protection for the patient community they are intended to serve.

Excerpt via Alternet.org. (Read the entire article here.)

Alabama: Senate lawmakers unanimously approved SB 174, aka “Carley’s Law,” which seeks to allow investigators at the University of Alabama to study CBD in FDA-approved trials. But no change in state law is actually necessary to permit state university researchers to conduct clinical trials on cannabidiol. Such FDA-approved protocols are already permitted under federal law, but they require the added approval of regulators at the DEA, NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), and PHS (Public Health Service). However, since CBD (like marijuana) is classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law, these agencies have historically been reticent to allow such studies to go forward, a fact that will likely remain unchanged even if House members similarly sign off on Carley’s Law.

Georgia: A Senate panel last week amended and approved House Bill 885, aka “Haley’s Hope Act.” …The amended Senate plan … only provides for an exemption from state prosecution for those who obtain CBD oil from a legal medical marijuana state and transport it back to Georgia. In theory, this would allow Georgia parents to visit a state like Colorado to obtain medicine for their children. But in practice, Colorado’s medical marijuana law only allows those who are state residents and who possess a state-issued patient identification card to legally purchase such products. In other words, Georgia parents would have to violate Colorado law to obtain CBD-oils (which are likely to only be available from a medical dispensary, not a retail cannabis market). Colorado medical marijuana dispensaries would also be in violation of not just the letter of the law, but also the spirit of the law by providing a product they know is intended to be transported across state lines—a clear violation of the guidelines put forward in the August 2013 Department of Justice memo which call for “preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal in some form to other states.”

Kentucky: Senators last week gave unanimous approval to Senate Bill 124. Like Alabama’s proposal, the bill calls on University of Kentucky researchers to study CBD in clinical trials — something they could do with or without passage of a new state law, if the necessary federal agencies agreed to it. The measure also seeks to allow physicians at state teaching hospitals to recommend CBD to patients. However, past experience from other states indicates that this latter scenario is unlikely. In 2013, Maryland lawmakers enacted legislation to allow physicians at the state’s limited number of teaching hospitals to dispense cannabis. To date, no Maryland hospitals have taken up the state’s invitation to do so.

Utah: House and Senate lawmakers have given final approval to House Bill 105. Utah’s governor is expected to sign the measure into law imminently. Like Georgia’s proposal, the Utah measure, which sunsets in 2016, provides protection from state prosecution for parents who can acquire CBD-oil for their epileptic children, assuming a neurologist has authorized the treatment. But, as will be the case in Georgia, Utah patients will likely only be able to obtain CBD from out of state, an act that would violate neighboring states’ medical cannabis laws. The Utah proposal also calls on the state Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for the purposes of one day producing cannabis medicines. However, it remains to be seen whether such industrial crops can yield therapeutically effective CBD-extracts or whether federal lawmakers would even allow such a state-sponsored research project to move forward.

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Johnny Green


  1. Frank Registrato on

    People need to be educated about the availability of Hemp derived CBD meds that are already available in this country in all 50 states. There are many on-line places to find these products. They are made from imported hemp and sold as supplements.

    Products made from hemp are found in retail stores nationwide, thanks to a federal exemption to the definition of “marijuana”. Since 1937, the federal statue controlling “marijuana” has excluded the mature stalks, fiber, oil, and any other preparation of the mature stalks of Cannabis sativa L., commonly known as “hemp”, from the definition of “marijuana.” When the Hemp Industries Association defended hemp’s exempt status in 2004, the DEA declined to challenge this ruling, which is why there continues to be a wide variety of hemp products on the market today. Walk into many retail and grocery stores and you will find hemp protein powder, hemp seeds, hemp clothing, and hemp oil.

    We found CBD for our Brother with Autism at http://www.yourcbdsource.com

    Check them out.

  2. Excuse me, but if you’re going to fly off the handle, do so with at least an ounce of clarity. You’re very upset about something I said, but I don’t have any idea what you’re upset about! I don’t have a clue who baby Clara is, nor have you given me any reason to care. You don’t agree with something I said, but you didn’t give me the slightest HINT as to what it was, and I’m not about to try stringing together the clauses from your run-on sentences into something coherent.


    excuse me, but KY has been pushing whole plant for years. one of whitney westerfields cronies and fellow agriculture guru in ky (that equals HEMP $$$ if you could not do the math) has a “sick child” and that is the only reason this bill got through, cronyism. our ky lawmakers have knowlege of and encouraged this gilliam family to go “out of jurisdiction” to obtain baby claras medicine in oregan. hey now, it is not legal yet, so why is it ok for five month old infant to illegally use this oil, when I had to move out of kentucky to obtain mine legally? if you are gonna spout off, spout right this was introduced two months ago(cbd) whole plant, two years.

  4. Mary Leochner on

    The fact that cannabis is now in the news A LOT is good news. It is on bills in lots of states is good news. As a country we are going about it in my opinion bass ackwards though!!! Start the studies on each variety of plant!

  5. As I’ve written previously — the so-called “CBD-only” legislation that has been the new, popular bill among the ultra-conservative states of Georgia, Utah, Alabama, and Kentucky were the only bills with a snowball’s chance of getting hearings, let alone passing floor votes. The conversation would *NOT* have started (and caught on like wildfire) had these states tried advocating for comprehensive bills, right out of the gate.

    How do we know this? Ask Patricia Todd of Alabama — she’s filed comprehensive medical cannabis bills year after year, but never so much as got a hearing, let alone a floor vote. Advocates in the Southeast know that social conservatives conflate medical cannabis programs with recreational use because of the way the medical cannabis industry has been handling its marketting. Conservative lawmakers think medical cannabis is just a ruse for stoners to get high — so they have NEVER been open to having a serious conversation about the medical benefits of cannabis. Not until the so-called “mommy lobby” got involved by shoving CBD-only legislation in their faces, advocating for children with intractable epilepsy.

    It’s fairly frustrating to see Mr Armentano weighing into FOUR different battles with his two-cents months (years) too late with thoughts local advocates have ALREADY HAD. In Georgia, everyone knew from the START that HB885 was extremely limited. The idea was to use its first incarnation as a starting-point to negotiate UP to a workable program that could, at the very least, ease the suffering of children with epilepsy. However, the bill was neutered in hearings as the legislature coped with the REALITIES of trying to implement a bill that did not allow local cultivation of any kind.

    And just to get Mr Armentano up to speed — the Georgia legislative session ended last night, and HB885 is officially dead for 2014. The Senate tacked on a rider the House refused to approve. But you know what? The conversation got STARTED, which is more than NORML has ever accomplished in Georgia, Utah, Alabama, or Kentucky. Our CBD-only bill may have failed, but the legislature is primed for next year. People are paying attention to this issue, seriously, for the first time. Mr Armentano’s hindsight wisdom should factor that in.

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