California Bill Seeks Exemption For First Federally Approved Marijuana Medicine

A legal barrier could stand in the way of an expected surge of medicines

Assemblyman Jim Wood is attempting to clear the way for Californians to use the first federally approved medicine made from marijuana, removing a legal barrier that could stand in the way of an expected surge in cannabis- based pharmaceuticals.

Wood, a Santa Rosa Democrat who chairs the Assembly Health Committee, authored a bill that would make a drug approved Monday by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of two rare and severe childhood-onset epilepsies legal for California physicians to prescribe.

The two disorders — Lennox- Gestaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome — afflict fewer than 45,000 Americans, but experts expect the drug, Epidiolex, will be prescribed for other types of epilepsy, Wood said.

Epidiolex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals, is the first approved medicine that “contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana,” the FDA said in a statement.


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