The Texas Compassionate Use Act (Senate Bill 339) was enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2015 (84th Legislative Session). The bill required that the Department of Public Safety create a secure registry of physicians who treat epilepsy for the purpose of prescribing low-THC cannabis to patients who have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. In addition, the bill required DPS to license at least three dispensing organizations by Sept. 1, 2017, should they meet the requirements. The license authorizes the organizations to cultivate, process and dispense low-THC cannabis to prescribed patients. Rules have been promulgated and will be discussed in an ongoing series on this subject.
At the federal level, U.S. health officials, including the CDC and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, want states to regulate cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The senator announced he would introduce a bill to legalize “hemp” on the federal level but so far, although widely available, in the U.S., only 17 states have laws on CBD-specific medical treatment, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Legally, the term “CBD Oil” means a substance, not containing any other psychoactive substance, that is an extract from a cannabis plant composed of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in a proportion that is considered nonpsychoactive under applicable State law.” The CBD extract or oil, contains less that .03 percent of the addictive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and delivers potent medicinal or therapeutic properties to patients without the “high” side effect. With the reduce THC volume CBD Oil is classified as “hemp” under federal law and is therefore legal to possess and distribute. Several bills have been introduced to Congress including H. R. 4779, To amend the Controlled Substances Act to prevent Federal prosecutions for certain conduct, relating to CBD oil, that is lawful under State law, and for other purposes.
Most recently the H.R.715 introduced in 2017, permits for reclassification purposes, consideration of scientifically sound research conducted in a state that allows medical marijuana and in accordance with state law, in other words, the bill would allow the rescheduling of marijuana, the medical use of marijuana in accordance with State law, and the exclusion of cannabidiol from the definition of marijuana, and for other purposes.
The legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to:
- exclude “cannabidiol” (CBD) from the definition of “marijuana” and remove it from coverage under the CSA;
- limit the concentration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in CBD to 0.3% on a dry weight basis; and
- deem marijuana grown or processed to make CBD, in accordance with state law, to comply with the THC concentration limit unless the DEA determines state law to be unreasonable.
This topic will continue to be discussed in an ongoing series.