In 2017, cannabidiol (CBD) made headlines that included personal testimonies, medical research, and government involvement. While government stance was not always clear, one thing is for certain: there’s been progress in the acceptance of CBD as a wellness supplement. The following are the top stories of 2017 that influenced the legalization, education, or advancement of CBD.


January

  • January 27: Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduce the Compassionate Access Act, which recommends the rescheduling of marijuana and CBD.

This measure proposes that CBD is excluded from the definition of marijuana and is removed from coverage under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

“There are countless reports of marijuana’s medicinal benefits… It is time to research this further, and, where legal, to allow real doctors and real pharmacists to prescribe or dispense marijuana for legitimate medical reasons for real patients.” – Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA)

February

  • Ireland announces plans to legalize cannabis for specific medical conditions.

Health Minister Simon Harris announces that he will recommend to the Health Products Regulatory Authority that cannabis-based products be made available to some patients with multiple sclerosis, severe epilepsy, or undergoing chemotherapy.

“I believe this report marks a significant milestone in developing policy in this area. This is something I am eager to progress but I am also obligated to proceed on the basis of the best clinical advice.” – Health Minister Simon Harris

  • February 8: The New Zealand Ministry of Health changes the approval process for patients seeking medical marijuana.
Source: New Zealand Herald

Under the new law, the Ministry of Health will approve patients’ applications for medicinal cannabis rather than the minister.

The legislation would federally decriminalize marijuana.

March

  • March 17: Utah Governor Gary Herbert signs medical marijuana research bill, which implores Congress to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug and encourages researchers to investigate the benefits of medical marijuana.

April

  • Tennessee District Attorney Brent Cooper gives CBD retailers a 30 days notice to stop transactions involving CBD or face prosecution.
  • Canada announces plans to legalize marijuana by July 2018.

If the bill passes as expected, Canada will become the second nation to legalize marijuana.

  • April 6: Congressmen Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Darren Soto (D-FL) introduce a federal bill that would reschedule marijuana as Schedule III substance.

The proposed legislation would make it easier for patients and scientific and medical researchers to obtain marijuana.

“This drug should not be in the same category as heroin and LSD, and we do not need to continue with a policy that turns thousands of young people into felons every year.  Nor do we need to punish the millions of people who are sick and seeking medical help – from pain, from muscle wasting, from chemotherapy-induced nausea” – Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

  • April 17: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signs the Senate Bill 10, making it easier to acquire CBD oil.

The legislation allows families to have CBD oil in possession for any medical condition if approved yearly by a physician.

  • April 26: Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signs the state’s first medical cannabis law, which legalizes the use of CBD for patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Indiana becomes one of 17 states where low-THC, high-CBD products are approved for medical purposes in some circumstances.

“This is not the gateway to medical marijuana. This is not the gateway to recreational marijuana. This is a gateway for parents whose children have a hundred seizures a day or adults in the population — less than one third of one percent — who have epilepsy that can’t be treated by other means.” – Senator Randy Head (R-IN)

The passing of House Bill 1148 prompts a law enforcement crackdown on CBD, as some police interpret the law to mean that CBD is illegal for all who do not fall under the bill.

May

  • Colorado State University (CSU) conducts clinical trials to study the potential medicinal benefits of CBD and pets.

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital at CSU begins to study the effectiveness of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy and osteoporosis in dogs.

“We have diseases that we don’t have treatments for that work, so there’s a problem. A solution to that problem is trying to find a solution that does work, so we are always searching. That, along with this drug [CBD] becoming legalized, prompted a lot more questions from clients and veterinarians. And [with] me being unable to answer their questions, that really bothered me. So the more I started looking, the more I realized what a void there was in cannabis research.” – Dr. Stephanie McGrath, lead researcher

June

  • The International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) assesses the quality of CBD oils on the European market and issues a warning to European consumers about the risks of hazardous contaminants.
  • Mexico legalizes medicinal cannabis.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto publishes a bill that allows the use of medicinal cannabis for health and scientific purposes. The bill also establishes that cannabis products with less than 1 percent THC can be sold legally.

  • June 5: Upon the recommendation of Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne, New Zealand allows doctors to prescribe CBD oil.

Patients no longer need the Ministry of Health approval for use; instead, doctors can prescribe patients with a three month supply of CBD.

July

  • July 28: Congressmen James Comer (R-KY), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduce legislation to remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 would legalize the cultivation of hemp in the United States.

August

The act proposes to remove marijuana from the controlled substances list, which would end the federal criminalization of cannabis.

“Our country’s drug laws are badly broken and need to be fixed. They don’t make our communities any safer – instead they divert critical resources from fighting violent crimes, tear families apart, unfairly impact low-income communities and communities of color, and waste billions in taxpayer dollars each year.

Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.” – Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

September

  • September 29: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announces that it will be removing CBD from its list of banned substances in 2018.

November

  • Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill says that CBD oil is illegal to sell or possess in Indiana.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb warns retailers in to pull CBD oil from their shelves within 60 days.

*** Update as of 1-8-2018 > Indiana Apologizes to 50 Businesses Cited for Selling CBD < ***

  • November 1: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sends a warning letter to four companies which sell CBD oil.

“As part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from health fraud, the agency today issued warning letters to four companies illegally selling products online that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer without evidence to support these outcomes.”

  • November 6-10: The 39th meeting of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) convenes in Geneva, Switzerland to review CBD and 16 other drug substances.
  • Nov 30: Gov. Scott Walker signs a bill that allows Wisconsin farmers to grow industrial hemp.

December

  • Dec 11: In a preliminary report, the World Health Organization (WHO) finds no public health risks or abuse potentials for CBD.

Instead, the organization finds several medical applications for the compound.

World Health Organization Headquarters. Source: wikimedia commons.
Additional Sources:
Cook, Tony. (2017, April 21). Marijuana extract could soon be legal for Indiana epilepsy patients. IndyStar. Retrieved from: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/21/marijuana-extract-could-soon-legal-indiana-epilepsy-patients/100698120/
Dean, David. (2017, Oct. 9). Colorado State University Leading the Way in Veterinary CBD Treatment. Westword. Retrieved from:  http://www.westword.com/marijuana/colorado-state-university-leading-the-way-in-veterinary-cbd-treatment-9573197
Jordan, Greg. (2017, Feb. 3). Medical marijuana act reintroduced. Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Retrieved from: http://www.bdtonline.com/news/medical-marijuana-act-reintroduced/article_b263926a-e9bb-11e6-bd4e-034b58a42f06.html
McDonald, Henry. (2017, Feb. 10). Ireland to legalise cannabis for specific medical conditions. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/10/ireland-legalise-cannabis-specific-medical-conditions-multiple-sclerosis-epilepsy-chemotherapy-safety-fears-drug
Office of Cory Booker. (2017). Booker Introduces Landmark Bill to End the Federal Prohibition on Marijuana. [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=638
Office of Matt Gaetz. (2017). Congressmen Gaetz and Soto Propose Legislation to Reschedule Marijuana. [Press release]. Retrieved from: https://gaetz.house.gov/media/press-releases/congressmen-gaetz-and-soto-propose-legislation-reschedule-marijuana

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