Hemp Legalization Crosses the Aisle
There's not much that the US Senate leaders agree on. Enter legalization of hemp. On May 4, 2018 Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he has signed on as a cosponsor of a hemp legalization bill introduced in April by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Calling current federal law banning hemp cultivation a "crock" Schumer said that the DEA is stopping farmers from growing hemp, while the US imports hemp from other countries.
McConnell's legislation, which has another 10 sponsors would remove hemp from the definition of marijuana.
CBD Oil and Products Gaining in Popularity
CBD Oil is a rising star. Cannabidiol (CBD) is increasingly being used for a variety of conditions including anxiety, insomnia, depression and seizures. People with arthritis, MS and lupus are turning to products like CBD-infused lotion to help manage pain. CBD sales are expected to quadruple in the next four years, from an estimated $535 million in 2018 to more than $1.9 billion by 2022.
A new study on CBD use shows that the most common reasons sought out CBD was for insomnia, depression, anxiety and joint pain. The industry is estimated to have doubled in the last two years. Enthusiasm has outpaced the science, however. (Read more.)
Cannabis State of the Union 2018 Progress
When it comes to cannabis, politics have reached an exciting level, after decades of inaction.
Last year Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D) founded the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The idea was to involve more members of the House in efforts to reduce interference by the federal government in states where cannabis is legal.
Blumenauer is optimistic, "We are poised to expand programs in the year ahead." He is working to connect with dozens of candidates running for office this fall and said that "even Trump is coming around. We need to continue our fight." (Read more about other legislative activities.)
WHO Reviews the Efficacy of CBD
The World Health Organization says that CBD "exhibits no effective indicative of any abuse or dependence potential." In a report filed last fall, the WHO details how CBD has already shown effectiveness in combatting the symptoms of epilepsy in several clinical trials. The decision is important because based on the report's findings, the WHO makes recommendations to countries around the world regarding which substances should be controlled or surveilled.
DEA Chief Wrong about Cannabis
The nation's top drug enforcement officer is opposed to legalizing cannabis--but does he have to be so ill-informed? DEA Chief Robert Patterson said cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug "because of the science" but was unable to cite any studies. Nor had he heard that the Journal of the AMA reported "evidence that cannabis effectively treats chronic pain." He also wrongly believes cannabis contributes to the nation's opioid epidemic, while experts believe it is a solution.
Congress urges VA to Research Cannabis
Despite protestations from the Department of Veterans Affairs to acknowledge medical cannabis as therapy, In addition to encouraging research a new bipartisan bill will give the Veterans Administration permission to allow veterans access to medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD and chronic pain. Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), observed, "Rather than risk becoming dependent on opioids, these veterans find relief in medical cannabis." The new bill will push the VA to research cannabis, at last.