Drug Watch International Thwarted by the FDA
There are many anti-marijuana groups out there like Marijuana Anonymous and National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre. Many of these groups are backed by pharmaceutical companies like Insys Therapeutics or Pfizer. They are sneaky. They use their large financial backing to run negative ads and lobby Congress to maintain the prohibition on cannabis. Most recently it was the group Drug Watch International that tried to put a big hurdle in front of the marijuana legalization movement.
TNMNews has interviewed marijuana legalization opponents before in order to provide our followers the most unbiased of perspectives. Scott Chipman, the founder of ‘Citizens Against the Legalization of Marijuana’, was kind enough to join us for an interview before California legalized adult-use marijuana. His hard work to try and stop California from creating a structured cannabis market ultimately failed. But, that is not stopping other organizations from continuing their efforts to keep cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance.
What Drug Watch International attempted to do was pretty smart thinking. They sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration requesting that cannabis and all of its derivative products be placed on a restricted list of substance that are not “generally recognized as safe and effective.” It would not have effectively kept marijuana a Schedule 1 substance, that is the DEA’s jurisdiction. Nor would it have stopped marijuana from being legalized in states or nationally. It would though have created one more obstacle for cannabis companies that would seek acknowledgement from the FDA.
The FDA decided the addition of cannabis and its derivative to this list of what are for all intents and purposes, worthless substances, to be unnecessary. Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation, replied to the request from Drug Watch International earlier this week. She wrote to them that adding cannabis to the list was, “not necessary for the protection of public health.”
The petition sent by the ant-marijuana group was sent in December to the FDA. In the petition they talked about advertising restrictions and sending a message about the so-called medicinal benefits of cannabis. They wrote that the FDA would, “send an industry-wide warning to the estimated 33,000 marijuana businesses in the U.S., many of which are making unsupported medical claims for marijuana and THC drug products sold as ‘medical marijuana.’” They also wanted to, “reduce or end the ability of [over-the-counter] sellers of these drugs to assert and advertise unsupported medical claims for their products.”
As to advertising, the anti-cannabis group wrote, “It would immediately make such claims unlawful and subject the sponsors to regulatory action, including injunctive seizure of mislabeled and misbranded drugs, as well as other potential sanctions permitted under the [Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act].” The FDA had this to say in response, “In order for FDA to take enforcement action against illegal marketing of unapproved new OTC drugs containing marijuana or THC, it is not necessary for FDA to establish a negative monograph for marijuana or THC.”
The straight forward response from the FDA suggests that it is not interested in impeding the progress of the marijuana legalization movement. It also suggests that the Trump administration may even be interested in facilitating the movement.