U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a CNBC interview on Friday that a federal cannabis “policy reckoning” is “an inevitability.”
First noted by Marijuana Moment, the statement made up just part of a larger interview but, for cannabis professionals, it’s an optimistic signal of validation for the industry, which exists despite the constant risk of a federal crackdown.
“I think there’s probably going to be a policy reckoning around this at some point in the future. Obviously, it’s happening at the state level and I think it’s an inevitability that it’s going to happen at the federal level at some point soon.” — FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in a televised CNBC interview
The statement was made in response to inquiries from CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ co-anchor Joe Kernen, who asked if the country would be “OK” if cannabis becomes as readily available as alcohol.
Gottlieb did not elaborate further on his sentiment, though the FDA commissioner smiled at first when the cannabis question was broached, acknowledging that his staff had predicted the line of questioning.
Earlier this year, the FDA approved the nation’s first cannabis plant-based medication: Epidiolex, a drug for children with rare and severe cases of epilepsy. While investigating Epidiolex, the FDA also determined that CBD should be descheduled entirely.
With Democrats having secured the House during the midterm elections, federal cannabis reforms could become a key issue on the docket for the 2019 legislative session.