The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has all but refused to acknowledge lawful cannabis producers as part of legitimate commerce here in the United States, but that has not stopped the agency from working with corporate drug pushers in the importation of cannabis products to be used to facilitate the Big Pharma takeover of the medical marijuana industry.
A federal notice released earlier this month indicates that big government has given a New Jersey drug development company called Catalent Pharma Solutions permission to begin importing various forms of cannabis into the United States to be administered to patients in clinical trials. The “finished pharmaceutical products containing cannabis extracts” will be shipped to the company’s research facility in Kansas City, Missouri, which develops and tests medications in “oral dose forms.”
Catalent’s Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Cornell Stamoran, recently told In-Pharm Technologist, a news source covering the happenings of the international pharmaceutical trade, there is “a growing need for special handling capabilities in pharmaceutical development due to evolving characteristics of pharmaceutical and biotechnology pipeline molecules” and “as these molecules transition to commercially approved products, similar complexities arise in production and distribution of commercial supplies.”
Basically, what this means is major drug manufactures are paying Catalent big bucks to help engineer commercial medical marijuana products in a manner that will garner expeditious approval from the U.S. government. However, the bad news is, this type of action resonates an obvious separation of those medical marijuana products that are sold in state licensed dispensaries and medicine derived from the cannabis plant that is currently being created under the guidance of the federal government.
While some insiders of the pot industry believe the emergence of brands such as “Marley Natural” and “Willie’s Reserve” properly defines what is to be “Big Marijuana,” the fact that well-funded drug companies are still exploring methods for capitalizing on the medicinal cannabis sector — even after 23 states and the District of Columbia have established relevant programs — indicates the cannabis industry is on a devastating collision course.
One of the Catalent’s clients is GW Pharmaceuticals, a British pharmaceutical company that Merrill Lynch recently cited in a report as being a major player in the cannabis industry. The drug company has been inside the United States for a couple years conducting clinical trials on their prized medical marijuana product Epidiolex — cannabidiol in spray form — in hopes of marketing an FDA-approved epilepsy treatment by 2017. As of now, GW is in Phase III of clinical trials for this medicine, which was recently deemed promising in combating treatment-resistant epilepsies such as Dravet syndrome.
Unfortunately, the true Monster of Marijuana has a special luxury that remains unavailable to those companies selling pot products in retail outlet across the country – flexible DEA scheduling. A product like GW’s Epidolex, if approved, would likely be classified Schedule II or III in order to become a part of the mainstream drug market. And while it is expected this medication will come with a hefty price tag, Epidolex, unlike CBD-oil being sold in places like Colorado, would also be covered under most health insurance policies. This very scenario happened over three decades ago with a THC pill called Marinol.
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