Progress? FDA Invites Canada’s Director of Medical Cannabis to Present at June Conference
On June 2nd , the Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States Government contained a notice from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about a co-sponsored June conference. What’s particularly noteworthy about this conference is the session on June 27th entitled, “Regulation of Marijuana for Medical Purposes in Canada” led by Chris Rose, Director of Operations, Office of Medical Cannabis, Health Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada. According to the conference website, “This presentation will provide an overview of current regulatory framework for the regulation of marijuana for medical purposes in Canada and include information on the licensing process, compliance and enforcement and market statistics.” Yes, you read it correctly. The FDA is co-sponsoring a conference that has medical marijuana as one of its topics.
As some of you know, back in 2015 Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the other Democratic senators wrote to multiple food and drug officials and asked them to reclassify cannabis and facilitate research into the plant’s medical benefits. In April of this year, The Huffington Post reported that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plans to decide whether to reschedule marijuana by mid-year, which could be any day now.
Does this move by the FDA indicate that cannabis will soon be removed from Schedule 1 drug list, which is designated for drugs with high potential for abuse and no currently acceptable medical use? Perhaps, but there’s no guarantee. What this move does indicate is that the FDA is gathering information on how our allies are dealing with cannabis and encouraging U.S. government stakeholders to enter the discussion. So although we’re still waiting for the DEA’s decision, we can be optimistic that U.S. government officials are at least open to the subject, listening and learning about how to regulate medical cannabis in our country.