Cannabidiol is available in Colorado health food stores, but the state’s marijuana laws prevent the cannabis compound from being sold in pharmacies.
A bill moving through the Statehouse would open the doors for GW Pharmaceuticals’ CBD-centric Epidiolex drug to be prescribed and sold in pharmacies across the state.
A House committee passed the “Food and Drug Administration Cannabidiol Drug Use” late Tuesday in a 9-0 vote. The unanimous approval of House Bill 1187 followed three hours of public comments and debate that saw amendments added to address concerns raised by the hemp and marijuana industries.
The bill’s backers — Greenwich Biosciences, GW’s U.S. subsidiary — say the provisions would create a legal pathway for doctors to prescribe Epidiolex to patients if the novel cannabis-derived drug is green-lighted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That decision that could be announced as early as June, according to the company.
“We in no way intend to limit or affect access to any marijuana, recreational or medical, or any hemp products licensed in Colorado,” GW spokeswoman Jessica Wolfe told the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee on Tuesday.
The London-based company simply wants a lane for its medicine to be prescribed to patients such as children with rare epilepsy disorders, Wolfe said.
Members of Colorado’s burgeoning hemp industry said they’re concerned that lawmakers may actually be paving a “superhighway” for a foreign pharmaceutical company to monopolize the CBD market.
“Make no mistake, this bill is written as an attempt to control the (CBD) industry,” said Luke Johnson, founder of Cloud CO Farms, an Alamosa-based hemp cultivation, processing and CBD extraction company.