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Welcome to the March 2023 edition of CWCBExpo federal news update. This month, we’re examining some significant regulatory developments, including the launch of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s online pardon application and a new bipartisan bill aimed at regulating hemp derivatives as dietary supplements and food additives. Additionally, we’ll take a look at how much the consumption of medical cannabis has increased nationally in recent years. Read on to learn more about these updates and the evolving landscape of the U.S. cannabis industry.
Biden administration opens pardon application
The Biden administration has officially launched an online application process for individuals seeking pardons for cannabis possession charges. Individuals eligible for pardoning can now begin applying for a “certificate of proof” showing that their previous convictions have been pardoned. According to the online application, applicants may receive a “certificate indicating the person was pardoned on Oct. 6, 2022, for simple possession of marijuana.”
“The department is committed to carefully and expeditiously reviewing the applications and issuing certificates to those pardoned under the proclamation,” reads the statement on the Justice Department’s website. “For more information regarding eligibility and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit Presidential Proclamation on Marijuana Possession.”
To be eligible, individuals must have been charged or convicted with simple possession of cannabis by either a federal court or the D.C. Superior Court before October 6, 2022. Additionally, those seeking pardons must have been either a U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the country at the time of the offense and when Biden granted the pardon last year. Although the president’s pardon does not apply to state cannabis convictions, Biden has also encouraged state governments to take similar steps regarding simple possession charges.
Bipartisan bill would regulate hemp-derived CBD as dietary supplements and beverage additives
A pair of bills aimed at regulating hemp derivatives such as CBD as dietary supplements and beverage additives has been reintroduced to Congress. The bills, sponsored by Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Angie Craig (D-MN) follow the FDA’s January announcement that “a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight needed to manage risks.”
The pair of bills would do the following:
- The Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2023 would make hemp, Cannabidiol derived from hemp, and other hemp-derived products lawful for use as a dietary supplement unless otherwise directed by the FDA.
- The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act directs the FDA to regulate CBD as the agency would for other food ingredients, setting requirements for quality and labeling, among other areas.
“The Food and Drug Administration has dragged its feet in properly regulating CBD and hemp-derived products on the market, creating confusion about its legal uses,” said Griffith in a press release. “Americans need better guidance, and that is why I have introduced these two pieces of legislation, which will create a pathway for regulation in both the food and dietary supplement spaces.”
Medical cannabis consumption has doubled in the U.S. since 2013
A new study investigating data from a federally funded survey revealed that the percentage of adults in the United States who acknowledge possession of a doctor’s authorization to consume cannabis has more than doubled between 2013 and 2020.
According to the study, a question added to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health’s annual survey in 2013 asked whether any cannabis use within the past 12 months was recommended by a doctor. During the first year, 1.2 percent of respondents answered affirmatively. Seven years later, that figure had risen to 2.5 percent. The study’s authors reported that self-identified medical cannabis consumers were most likely to be male, uninsured, and generally residing in jurisdictions where it was legal under state law.
“This study documents a continued nationwide increase in use of cannabis for diverse medical purposes between 2013 and 2020,” the authors wrote. “Living in a state that legalized medical cannabis remained significantly associated with greater odds of medical cannabis use.”
The study also analyzed medical marijuana use by respondents who experienced specific medical conditions and found that relevant subgroups that experienced significantly greater odds of medical cannabis use included: poorer self-rated health statuses, past-year major depressive episodes, cocaine use disorder, and use of non-prescription pain relievers
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