Relaxed Federal Enforcement of Cannabis

 In Medical Cannabis

Over the past two years we’ve seen a major shift in the way federal officials are treating cannabis.  From recent Department of Justice memos regarding marijuana issues in Indian Country to passing of the Farr-Rohrabacher amendment, we’re seeing signs at all levels of government of increased tolerance, and in many cases, outright acceptance.  The national media has churned out plenty of stories about how cannabis businesses are benefiting, but relatively little has been said about medical cannabis patients and how these changes benefit them.

Until very recently, the market for medical cannabis products was very unstable.  Even in California where medical cannabis has been legal for almost two decades, everyone in the entire supply chain faced a very serious threat of arrest and prosecution for their work with cannabis medicines. It was not uncommon for patients to find a product that worked particularly well for them, only to visit the same dispensary a month later and find that beneficial product would no longer be available.  Things are getting better, but the industry should be allowed to continue to develop and stabilize so that patients are better able to identify and obtain the medications that work best for them.

As the laws relax, more businesses enter the market, and it continues to become saturated, successful companies will look for unique products to make themselves standout.  Without the constant fear of arrest, or having all business and personal property confiscated, cannabis businesses will be able to function like any other businesses.  They will find it easier to secure funding, obtain bank accounts, and take the financial risks and commit to the quality research required to develop the new standout cannabis medicines. Advancements in dosing accuracy, isolating specific cannabinoids, and new methods of administration such as portable vaporizers are but a few ways in which novel products that can help a business thrive could also be a saving grace to many patients.

I mentioned research earlier, and while I’m excited about the idea of legal cannabis companies and what their R&D will yield, I’m especially looking forward to seeing the studies that major research institutions will be able to put out once federal prohibition has faded away.  I’m excited about this prospect, not because I think it’s necessary to prove cannabis is a medicine, but so we can finally start to crystalize our understanding of how plant-derived cannabinoids interact with our bodies, and we can treat patients with even more effective medicine than we are able to now.

My sincere hope is that as the cannabis industry grows people will be encouraged to break new ground in cannabis medicine and contribute quality products that improve lives.

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