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The South Dakota legislature is gearing up for a battle over the future of cannabidiol’s, or CBD, availability across the state.  Proponents of  CBD medicine say GW Pharmaceuticals, a British pharmaceuticals company and its subsidiary Greenwich BioSciencese, currently has a monopoly on CBD in South Dakota because of Senate Bill 95. 

 

 SB 95 was passed by the legislature in 2017 making CBD a schedule four drug thus clearing the way for CBD products to be sold legally in South Dakota.  However, lobbyists from GW Pharmaceuticals managed to convince lawmakers to add language requiring CBD products to be FDA approved.  Currently, one of the only available CBD products with FDA approval is a GW product known as Epidiolex.  Epidiolex is estimated to cost roughly $32,500 a year for patients with a prescription according to Yahoo Finance.

 

Melissa Mentele with “New Approach South Dakota”, a marijuana advocacy group explained why she feels this is a company on a quest to entrench its own profits...

 

 

 

With the passing of the most recent farm bill in Washington DC industrial hemp is now legal to grow in the United States.  Along with that, the Food and Drug Administration chose not to schedule CBD, meaning it is federally legal to use CBD medicine.  By going state to state GW Pharmaceuticals hopes to keep CBD a scheduled drug, thus maintaining Epidiolex as many patients only real option.

 

Some members of the legislature are working on an amendment to Senate Bill 95 to be better in line with federal law including Democrat Susan Wismer of District 1.  According to Wismer this whole situation requires a lot of new education for both the public and legislature...

 

 

 

Mentele framed the discussion in regards to the free market.  If more CBD products were allowed to be sold in South Dakota, patients and consumers would have access to higher quality products than the one offered to them by GW Pharmaceuticals...

 

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