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Marijuana is here to stay?

The Bob Pritchard Column 

Last week, the Food & Drug Administration, for the first time ever, approved a marijuana-derived drug.
 
The FDA’s press release:  The U.S. FDA today approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. This is the first FDA-approved that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It is also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.
Some points…
 
1.   It was approved for kids as young as two.
That’s a fairly young age to give someone a drug that’s currently illegal nationwide at the federal level. Some logic needs to be reconciled here. If it is safe enough to treat seizures in two-year-olds, it stands to reason maybe it shouldn’t be illegal. The tide of prohibition is ebbing state by state, and it is likely that the dominoes will now fall fast and furious.
 
Remember the cascading effect Massachusetts had on gay marriage. The state legalized it in 2004, and it was legal nationwide via Supreme Court decision 10 years later.  Similarly, Colorado and Washington both legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. It will likely be legal nationwide by 2022, and this FDA decision gives a lot of validity to the legalization movement.
 
2.  One of the diseases the FDA approved a marijuana-based drug to treat is Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that begins in infancy and causes frequent and/or prolonged seizures for a lifetime. It’s 2018 and yet all the smartest scientists and PhD medical researchers have been unable to come up with a treatment for this terrible affliction.
 
And what got approved to treat it?  Marijuana, deemed by the Federal Government to be a dangerous, addictive drug.  So the question becomes…what else can marijuana successfully treat that drug companies and universities have spent billions trying to find chemical cures for?
 
3.  The company that developed the drug was GW Pharmaceuticals and in the past few years leading up to this approval, the stock has gone on an incredible run, delivering a return of more than 1,550%.   GW Pharma’s only approved drug in the United States is Epidiolex — the one that was approved last week. On the back of that, and some others in the pipeline, it has a market cap of nearly $50 billion.
 
Marijuana could well be the real deal. It’s here to stay. Legalization timelines are being compressed and expedited. And it’s created hundreds of billions in new wealth.

What do you think?
Posted on July 10, 2018

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