On Monday, Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, said that the federal government should be given the authority to regulate states’ marijuana programs.
In a CNBC appearance, Scott Gottlieb said that the increase in vaping related lung illnesses calls for the need of a federal regulatory system that would give the agencies power to enforce industry standards on all facets of the legal cannabis market such as the potency of THC and the proper methods of consumption.
Although the official was previously not clear on the extent of federal government involvement citing that the vaping problems are due to conflicts between the state and federal laws– he did not say which would be his preferred policy fix. However, last week in a Wall Street Journal editorial, he provided some clarification by saying that federal drug scheduling laws for marijuana should be reformed to offer limited regulations and promote more research on cannabis.
During a TV interview, Gottlieb said that enforcing marijuana prohibition is not politically practicable anymore and that Congress should approve a federal law that allows the enactment of appropriate supervision by the regulatory authorities.
Although he is not in support of the legalization of recreational marijuana and if possible he would like it to shut down completely, the reality of the situation is that many states have already legalized it; thus, any federal system formed would have to accommodate recreational cannabis.
When he was asked if all the states would be in a position to implement all the regulations he has proposed, Gottlieb said no, because some states do not have the capacity nor the resources to control what is being sold in their legal dispensaries as well as shutting down the black market.
He said that for this to be possible, federal authorities are a necessity.
The regulatory model Gottlieb is envisioning is one where the FDA and agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration could control the potency of the products, the manufacturing process, the ingredients, and the purpose for which the products are made.
Gottlieb further added that by federalizing marijuana and allowing recreational consumption, they would be in a position where they can limit the types of cannabis products being sold, their potency, and the forms in which it can be consumed. However, he still thinks vaping products should be banned.
He said that the federal agencies should enact strict measures on medical cannabis while holding them to a higher standard and allowing recreational use of the product with lower concentrations of THC, which poses less harm that vaping e-liquids.
He concludes by saying that compromising is right where you allow some form of recreational consumption of marijuana, which is in low concentration in the states allowing it instead of leaving it as it is today where there are no federal laws governing marijuana in those state-legal markets.
Industry analysts believe that companies like VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) and The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) could be seeing lots of sense in the proposals of the former FDA chief.
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