While California cannabis users look forward to a whole new world of consumer options when recreational retail weed becomes a reality in January, medical customers are waiting to find out whether they’ll still have access to the medicine that’s helping them today.
It’s not as if anyone voted to harm patients – most people who voted for the new law would say they intended for recreational use to be legalized AS WELL AS medical use. But as the regulations aren’t yet written, there’s room for doubt. After Washington state passed its law clearing recreational pot, users of certain medicinal concentrations found it difficult to get their prescriptions filled, an unexpected result of the new law.
While everyone is hopeful that California regulators will be more attuned to the needs of patients, it will be a cause for anxiety until the new rules are in place and patients know what they’re in for.
We talked to Courtney Freeman with Canna-Kids Inc. about how her organization works to relieve the suffering of patients young and old, and how the landscape looks for medical use in 2018. Our conversation was lightly edited for clarity and length.
I recall that Washington state had some issues when recreational use was approved, medical concentrations couldn’t be produced and some medical users were left without meds. Could that happen here?
Regulators are still working on the new regulations. We’ll know more at The State of Cannabis, occurring September 28-29. Lori Ajax, Chief of the BMCR, will be present and she’ll have some gritty details for us.
I spoke with Lori Ajax and mentioned that we need medical cannabis to be defined. Jeff Sessions would qualify flower as recreational; how do we protect medical cannabis if we don’t define the terms? I know that the California regulators are focused on protecting medical. The initial draft of regulations indicated that medical dispensaries and recreational dispensaries would be held separate. The intention was to protect medical from federal interruption. If the federal government did invade dispensaries, the idea is that medical would be less under fire. SB 94 maintains one store front for both medical and recreational.
The concern that we saw with Washington pertained to dosing size and potency. Cancer patients may be taking upwards of a gram of cannabis concentrate a day. To my knowledge, as the regulations stand, medical products will be permitted to have a higher potency for medical needs. Recreational products will be subject to limitations on potency to protect consumers who are new to cannabis and aren’t familiar with their personal tolerance levels.
The tax on medical cannabis is unfortunate and it appears that it may remain. I believe that medical patients should receive a tax break. They pay thousands out of pocket in severe cases of cancer with no insurance subsidy. The government should not profit off the disease of these persons and they deserve financial support.
I want to bring something to your attention regarding SB 162, which passed state senate headed to assembly, which prohibits branded merchandise from cannabis brands.
They say the tobacco industry has this restriction and that they don’t want us marketing to children. We can’t compare tobacco to cannabis. One resolves cancer and the other causes cancer.
SB 162 will restrict any cannabis brand from printing T shirts or hats or other merchandise if it passes. We’ve been in the closet for 80 years and now we won’t be able to brand a T shirt? It’s really unfathomable. At CannaKids, we sell T-shirts to raise funds for research and to support families in need. We should all start wearing cannabis T-shirts. It would be very difficult to enforce this measure.
At CannaKids, we are supporting children’s health. It is up to us as a community to educate our children to treat cannabis as a medicine. One’s cannabis experience starts with intention. If one intends to support homeostasis, one can work toward healing. Education is sorely needed prior to 2018 when adult use is legal.
Is there any specific action that pro-medical-cannabis folks should be taking now?
We had an open call for comment to the BMCR. People can still email email@example.com to recommend safe guards for medical cannabis and medical cannabis dosing protocols.
KARE is a new certification that is in the works. This could certainly help elevate the dispensary experience. Dispensaries can certify as well as bud-tenders.
Write your assembly person regarding SB 162 – its not too late to save our ability to put a cannabis leaf on a T-shirt or hat and sell it to our supporters.
What are some of the conditions that are most often treated with CannaKids products?
To be clear, we make medicine for children and adults – patients of all ages. We were inspired by Sophie Ryan and other pediatric cancer patients, but the formulas are the same and we know that there is such a need for pharmaceutical grade cannabis medicine, regardless of age, so we expanded our marketing. We are bringing products to market that are powered by CannaKids to better communicate that these products are for anyone in need of quality medicine.
Cancer, epilepsy, autism, and other pain related to neuropathic issues like fibromyalgia are our core focus.
If someone believes they or their child could benefit from these products, what’s the best way to proceed?
They should visit SavingSophie.org for research updates, dietary information and more for education. If they are ready to move forward with treatment, they’ll need a caregiver medical recommendation. We can put them in touch with a doctor to facilitate that or they can Google “Medical Marijuana or Cannabis medical recommendation caregiver doctor” + zip code to find a doctor near them.
We have a team of nurses that we work with who consult parents to identify issues and potential treatment. The nurses provide a dosing protocol. The next step would be to order the medicine, which is available directly or via one of our dispensary partners.
They would then keep in touch with our patient caregivers or the nurses to monitor progress and hopefully share success stories.
What can we look forward to in the future?
Technion Institute is one of the foremost research institutes in the world for cannabis research. We have just launched a four year study with Dr. Dedi Meiri and have already had some major breakthroughs for cancer. We are mapping specific strains of cannabis to specific mutations of cancer in search of solutions in well plates. We have two major hospitals signed on to do human trials for cannabis therapy as well.
We have a new CBD topical that we are bringing to market next week. Its 300mg of CBD and is a great solution for inflammation, pain either after surgery or for mere swollen joints. We are the sole distributor for CannatolRX in California – a nasal rescue spread that resolves Grand Mal seizures.
The market is so thirsty for products of this caliber. It’s an honor to be a part of this organization.