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Maine legislators on Tuesday sent a bill that would finally allow marijuana retail sales as voters demanded to Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who has vowed to veto it. LePage, who vetoed a similar bill last fall, recently said he’d veto the latest bill because it doesn’t create a single program for both medical and recreational marijuana. [LEPAGE CLIP “If marijuana is legal, you can have medical, agricultural, retail, you can make beer with marijuana if you want. If it’s legal, it’s legal – so why do you need to have medical?”] Votes in the House and Senate suggest lawmakers may have the two-thirds support needed in each chamber to override a veto. The bill also eliminates marijuana social clubs, reduces the number of plants that people can have and prohibits sale near schools. LePage has 10 days to sign, veto or let the bill go into law without his signature.
Pharmaceuticalized cannabis is one step closer to being approved by the Food & Drug Administration. British drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals is seeking permission to sell its purified form of cannabidiol, or CBD, as a medication for rare, hard-to-treat seizures in children. If successful, the company’s liquid formula would be the first government-approved drug derived from the cannabis plant in the U.S. The FDA posted its review of the experimental medication Epidiolex ahead of a public meeting Thursday when a panel of outside experts will vote on the medicine’s safety and effectiveness. It’s a non-binding recommendation that the FDA will consider in its final decision by late June. Patients taking the treatment had fewer seizures, according to the FDA’s internal review posted online. Scientists concluded that GW Pharmaceutical’s submission “appears to support approval” despite some potential side effects including risks of liver injury.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has proposed new rules that would affect its limits on annual opioid production. Under the new rules, DEA will take into consideration the extent that a drug is diverted for abuse when it sets its annual opioid production limits. If DEA believes that a particular opioid or a particular company’s opioids are being diverted for misuse, then DEA would be able to reduce the amount that can produced in a given year. Further, the rule would allow DEA to set its annual limits using information not only from its own Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders (ARCOS) system, but also from the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA, the CDC, Medicare and Medicaid, and the states.
Bloomberg reports that Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. agreed to acquire the top U.S. distributor of hydroponics products for $450 million in cash and stock, a transaction that will more than double its sales to cannabis growers. Chief Executive Officer Jim Hagedorn is making the company’s largest-ever transaction as he continues his three-year transformation of Scotts, the largest maker of lawn and garden products, into a force in the cannabis industry. Nine states and the District of Columbia now allow recreational pot use, and the industry is expected to reach $75 billion in sales by 2030 as more legalize marijuana, according to Cowen & Co. Scotts agreed to pay $425 million cash and $25 million in shares for closely held Sunlight Supply Inc., the Marysville, Ohio-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Sunlight will merge into Scotts’ Hawthorne Gardening Company unit.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at it again with another episode of his groundbreaking Weed documentary series on CNN. In the fourth installment of his groundbreaking series, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes an in-depth look at marijuana’s potential as both an alternative to opioids in treating pain and in ending opioid addiction. WEED 4: POT VERSUS PILLS will air on CNN, Sunday, April 29th at 8pm ET. In the special, Gupta meets pioneers in the field of pain management as well as addiction research who believe that marijuana is the next best hope for treating both. He also speaks with those who have struggled with addiction including an exclusive interview with NFL running back Mike James. Gupta also visits Maine where lawmakers and residents are committed to cannabis as a way to get people off opioids. He speaks with a woman who is opening a rehab center where she will use cannabis to wean patients off of opioids.