It may be 4/20 but the not so fabulous news may be that after all that work done by activists to break barriers to the legalization and even decriminalization of cannabis, the US government has simply made the markets safe just in time for their complete capture by Big Pharma. Remember the JustSayNow campaign and the review of Sativex, a liquified form of marijuana from the British prescription drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals? Well according to Kyle Daly in “Is Big Pharma set to corner the American market on medical marijuana?” (The American Independent, Apr. 19, 2011), GW Pharmaceuticals announced a licensing agreement with drug giant Novartis last week and the Japanese international prescription drug company, Otsuka, has just wrapped Phase II clinical trials for GW of Sativex.
Otsuka declined to comment to The American Independent on how close Sativex is to FDA approval or how far along the Phase III trials are, but Phase III is typically the final step in a drug’s path to pharmacies. Even getting to Phase III means the FDA has signed off on earlier test results and needs to see them confirmed in a large-scale study before advancing the drug.
Did I hear the gnashing of teeth? Wasn’t it coincidentally only last week that Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) received a letter from the Department of Justice “warning of the potential for criminal prosecutions of state employees who engage in the production of medical marijuana” although it is now legally authorized in the state? Yeah, I noticed that too.