Can you believe that at one time I actually enjoyed writing about US Attorney General Jeff Sessions? It's true, dear reader. Too true. Those milky eyes, that permanent scowl, the hunched shoulders bearing the weight of a morality beyond the ken of mortal man—all ripe for comedy. But then I realized that most of the country already hates the old codger, and making fun of him was like shooting hippies in a barrel (his favorite pastime, from the rumors I've heard).
Now I see his weirdly terrified smirk on his weirdly pinched face, and the words stop on their way to the keyboard. I can't stand to think about him anymore. I'd rather be fishing, I think, or have my kneecaps broken with rebar.
A few weeks ago the Great Beast Sessions told those gathered at a press conference in Boston that “states have a right to set their own laws and will do so,” but added in the same breath, “and we will follow the federal laws.” He was asked about the recent legalization of cannabis in Massachusetts and whether the Department of Justice plans on respecting their state law. “We'll enforce the federal law,” he answered. “The federal law remains the law in the United States.”
But despite the words, it's starting to feel like Sessions knows he's going to lose. You can hear it in his speech and see it in the curve of his spine. But he's planning to scare the shit out of the industry before he goes down. It's the least he can do in his righteous battle against el Diablo.
Watching the 45-second YouTube clip of his address to the Boston press is a study in crestfallen nervousness. Gone are the condescending smiles and incredulous barks we saw and heard in his salad days. In their place—a grave frown and an exhausted mumble.
I know I'm cursed with an insatiable optimism, but Sessions doesn't really worry me anymore. Someone should give him a hug and tell him he's been forgiven.
One of the biggest problems faced by states legalizing cannabis is determining whether drivers are operating vehicles under the influence. Testing for cannabis “impairment” has proven tricky since THC can stay in your system for weeks or months after the effects have faded—until now, supposedly.
Hound Labs has developed the “world’s first marijuana and alcohol breathalyzer,” called the “Hound Breathalyzer.” The device can reportedly produce results in minutes and can detect if a person has used cannabis in the previous two hours. Levels of THC are more difficult to detect in the breath than alcohol. To battle this, the breathalyzer has been designed to detect THC levels in parts per trillion. The company claims it has conducted hundreds of tests with the device and it “delivers better information than results from oral fluid, blood or urine tests.”
Problems arise when it comes to just how much THC is an “impairing” amount, though. Different states have different regulations on this matter, and unfortunately the breathalyzer can't detect the concentration of THC, just its presence.
The good news is the California Legislature is funding a study to determine how THC levels affect one's ability to drive. Researchers will have participants smoke different amounts of cannabis or a placebo and then test them in driving simulations. Researchers expect to learn how impaired a driver is at different levels and how long the impairment lasts. The study should be published in the spring of 2019.
In June, the Food and Drug Administration blew everyone's minds by approving Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical-grade version of CBD oil, designed to treat two types of childhood epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (but doctors will be able to prescribe it for other issues).
Although the mechanism behind CBD's effects on epilepsy is still unclear, the FDA said it reduces seizures when combined with other epilepsy drugs. Side effects associated with Epidiolex include diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue and restlessness.
Last week, Business Insider reported that the drug's maker, British-based GW Pharmaceuticals, told investors Epidiolex would cost roughly $32,500 per year. Chief Executive Justin Gover told the Wall Street Journal that the price was set in line with similar brand name “orphan drugs” (which treat rare diseases) used to treat epilepsy. Out-of-pocket costs for patients could reportedly cost up to $200 a month on some private insurance plans. Uninsured patients may be able to receive the drug for free.
The company is waiting on the DEA to assign it a controlled-substance classification before they'll release it in the US market. That decision is expected to be made by late September. How descheduling or rescheduling CBD will affect the legal status of cannabis-derived CBD products is still unclear. Rather than fully legalizing, the DEA has the option of moving it to Schedule II or Schedule III—making it legal as pharmaceutical, and not as an over-the-counter drug.