Cannabis news briefs: Canada’s other cannabis law, Farm Bill delays, a new schedule for Epidiolex, and more
By Rick Schettino
Oct 02, 2018
With the start of legal cannabis sales beginning in just a little over two weeks, lawmakers in each of the Canadian provinces have taken a tough, "one-strike and lose your license" stance to driving while stoned. Deterrents also include massive fines — as much as $2000 in New Brunswick.
Both breathalyzer and saliva testing may be used to determine THC levels. Any driver even suspected of recent marijuana use will be subject to mandatory saliva testing. If convicted, drivers face extensive post-DWI-M education. Canadian police are expected to be particularly aggressive in the first year of recreational cannabis legalization. They have already begun to crack down — especially on teen drivers. Punishments will be even more severe for drivers who are deemed to have consumed in the two hours before an accident or to being pulled over.
The Canadian government has allocated $81 million for advanced training for police to identify impaired marijuana drivers. The process consists of a 12-step drug recognition expert evaluation aimed at determining impairment due to central nervous system depressants, inhalants, dissociative anesthetics, central nervous system stimulants, hallucinogens, and narcotic analgesics in addition to marijuana.
With THC metabolite detection technology reaching the level of parts-per-trillion the familiar blood analysis shortcomings will be a thing of the past. Similar to the scales used for alcohol impairment, results of the tests will be used to predict a corresponding level of impairment due to cannabis use. However, results will take into account the size of the driver, road and car conditions, and whether or not the driver is a medical user.
Congress pushes Farm Bill deliberations into overtime
Hopes for a quick passage of the 2018 Farm Bill have faded. Although the current bill expired as of September 27, the new one, which includes Sen. McConnell’s hemp legalization measure is likely to be taken up again after the November elections. Industry reports say Congress won’t get around to finishing the job of finalizing the bill until after Thanksgiving.
Thankfully for hemp fans, the issue is not related to the non-intoxicating strains of cannabis but is rather related to the funding for the nation's multi-billion dollar food stamp program which is also funded under the bill.
Epidiolex passes last government hurdle
The DEA’s designation of Epiodiolex as a Schedule V drug under the Controlled Substances Act has buoyed GW Pharmaceutical’s stock price, but there’s still one last hurdle before the company receives the green light to begin selling the drug. It still has to be approved by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which must review the drug and its proposed average annual pricing of $32,000 per year. Experts say this process could take many more months to complete.
The 14-page DEA decision to down-schedule CBD can be found here.
Sessions tells NHSA gathering to be very afraid
Ahead of his appearance at the September 20 meeting of the National Highway Safety Administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions complained, “In recent years, a number of states have repealed their prohibitions on marijuana use. As a result, too many people think that marijuana is legal and that it is even legal to drive under the influence of marijuana.” He further reiterated that federal marijuana laws have not changed and suggested that there’s a common myth that “marijuana doesn’t impair driving.”
Although he presented no data to back up that particular claim, he did point to reports which suggest that “nearly a quarter of all drivers killed in car accidents who were tested had marijuana in their system — twice as many as tested positive for opioids.”
LA police take a lax stance on cannabis at LAX
Traveling to Los Angeles International airport has become a little less stressful for cannabis consumers. Under a new policy instituted by the LA police department travelers holding 28grams or less of cannabis while traveling through the concourse will not be prosecuted.
Cannabis production an energy-saver
According to the latest Cannabit from New Frontier Data, cannabis production uses less energy than beer production, making it more efficient and better for the environment. Check it out in the chart below: