Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) last week signed a bill allowing Kansans to take cannabis-derived medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Forbes reports. The measure amends the state’s definition of “marijuana” in its Uniform Controlled Substances Act to exempt FDA-approved drugs that contain naturally derived cannabinoids.
Currently, the FDA has only approved one such drug, Epidiolex, which contains CBD. The FDA has also approved Marinol but that drug contains synthetic THC, not the naturally-derived compound.
Alexandra Blasi, executive secretary of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, said the bill is trying to get in front of a new pharmaceutical drug containing naturally derived THC to treat muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, which is expected to be approved by the FDA by 2023, the report says.
“One key element of this legislation is the advance scheduling of any FDA-approved drug containing THC or other cannabinoids. There are a number of products currently in clinical trials anticipated to be submitted for FDA approval in the coming months and years.” – Blasi, in a statement, via Forbes
Kelly Rippel, the cofounder of Kansans For Hemp and founding president of Planted Association For Kansas, described the measure as “a disappointing bill that effectively legalized Epidiolex, which is meaningless for us.”
“Kansas is ground zero for cannabis prohibition,” he said in the Forbes interview.
Kansas does not allow legal access to medical cannabis; however, in 2019 lawmakers approved a bill legalizing CBD products containing 5% THC – higher than the 0.3% THC limits allowed by the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp federally.
Robert Hoban, an attorney who leads Clark Hill’s cannabis division, called the governor’s signing of the bill as “more of a public policy statement … rather than an actual effective piece of legislation.”
“In sum, the governor’s ‘policy,’ merely promulgates the illicit market in Kansas, ignores the science behind medicinal cannabis patient needs/impact, and boldly asserts that somehow the State of Kansas can approve or disapprove FDA medicines,” he told Forbes. “It’s the same old story with underinformed politicians on this topic.”
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