NCI to host closed-door meeting on cannabis.
Next month, the National Cancer Institute will hold a closed door meeting to “review and evaluate grant applications” with regard to research on “cannabis use during treatment,” according to a Federal Register notice that Cannabis Wire spotted.
The federal entity’s interests are not new, but they are certainly on the rise. Back in 2020, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time, NCI hosted a days-long Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Cancer Research Symposium.
And, since 2022, NCI has had an open “Notice of Special Interest” regarding funding opportunities under the umbrella of research on the “Basic Mechanisms of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Action in Cancer.”
DOJ: Former top cannabis regulator admits he was bribed.
Late last week, Mark Totten, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, announced that his office charged three individuals for bribing Rick Johnson, the former chair of the Michigan Marijuana Licensing Board, as well as Johnson for accepting the bribe.
Johnson led the board from May 2017 to April 2019, and, during that time, he “provided valuable non-public information about the anticipated rules and operation” of the board, and “assistance with license application matters to” the three men. Then, from July 2018 to April 2019, he “voted in favor of granting medical marijuana licenses to those companies.”
Johnson’s guilty “plea agreement states that he accepted more than $100,000 in cash payments and benefits while he was a member and Chairperson” of the board.
“Public corruption is a poison to any democracy. Those who wield the power of state have a sacred obligation to serve the people they represent. But when a government official takes a bribe, they spurn that solemn duty – in favor of the connected, the crooked, and ultimately themselves,” said Totten in the announcement. “Now and always, my office will place the highest priority on rooting out public corruption, with independence and impartiality.”
BAT joins forces with Charlotte’s Web.
Will Charlotte’s Web finally see its way through FDA approval, a decade after ushering CBD into the mainstream as a therapeutic option for seizures?
The company, along with AJNA BioSciences, which is co-founded by Joel Stanley, also a founder of Charlotte’s Web, and British American Tobacco (via a subsidiary), have announced a joint venture to “pursue FDA-approval for a novel botanical drug to target a neurological condition” that will be “developed from certain proprietary hemp genetics of CW.”
The JV will be led by Orrin Devinsky, who was a principal investigator in the FDA-approval of Epidiolex, the first FDA-approved drug derived directly from cannabis plants. Devinsky is also AJNA’s Chief Medical Advisor, as well as the Director of New York University Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.
The context here matters: Epidiolex, which contains only CBD, was fast-tracked by the FDA for approval back in 2014. Before that, the Stanley Brothers had put CBD for seizures on the national map when they produced a product called Charlotte’s Web that was used by a young girl named Charlotte Figi. A CNN documentary in 2013 focused, in part, on Figi and Charlotte’s Web, catalyzing the movement for CBD as medicine. However, it was not Charlotte’s Web that ultimately obtained FDA approval, it was GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, in 2018, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time.
BAT invested $10 million for a 20% stake, and the other two entities will hold 40% each.
Back in November, BAT announced a multimillion dollar investment into Charlotte’s Web, as Cannabis Wire reported in this newsletter at the time.