Conversation with David Young on H.R.2920

On Mon­day, Decem­ber 11, 2017, I spoke with Con­gress­man Young about H.R.2920 (CARERS Act of 2017).  Con­gress­man Young is a co-spon­sor of H.R.2920, and he was a co-spon­sor of H.R.1538 (CARERS Act of 2015).

Both the 2015 and 2017 ver­sions of the CARERS Act:

  • rec­og­nize an exemp­tion from fed­er­al sched­ul­ing for state med­ical mar­i­jua­na pro­grams;
  • remove cannabid­i­ol from the def­i­n­i­tion of mar­i­jua­na, plac­ing it at the end of a list of exemp­tions for indus­tri­al hemp;
  • cre­ate a fed­er­al def­i­n­i­tion of cannabid­i­ol which is near­ly iden­ti­cal to the fed­er­al def­i­n­i­tion of hemp, 7 U.S.C. § 5940 (no more than 0.3 per­cent delta-9 tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol on a dry weight basis); and
  • give Attor­ney Gen­er­al Jeff Ses­sions the right to deter­mine whether a state is in com­pli­ance with this new fed­er­al def­i­n­i­tion of cannabid­i­ol.

Beyond the fact that cre­at­ing an exemp­tion for state med­ical mar­i­jua­na pro­grams that does not include cannabid­i­ol seems con­tra­dic­to­ry, between 2015 and 2017 Iowa cre­at­ed a state def­i­n­i­tion of cannabid­i­ol that dif­fers sig­nif­i­cant­ly from the fed­er­al def­i­n­i­tion of hemp.

Iowa Code § 124E.2(6) (2017) defines cannabid­i­ol as “any phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal grade cannabi­noid found in the plant Cannabis sati­va L. or Cannabis indi­ca or any oth­er prepa­ra­tion there­of that has a tetrahy­dro­cannabi­nol lev­el of no more than three per­cent” (3 per­cent is 10 times high­er than 0.3 per­cent and cannabid­i­ol is just one of over a hun­dred cannabi­noids found in the cannabis plant).

I asked Con­gress­man Young to amend the bill by remov­ing the ref­er­ences to cannabid­i­ol.  If the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment wants to make cannabid­i­ol a pre­scrip­tion drug, that’s fine.  But, cur­rent­ly there are no fed­er­al­ly approved cannabid­i­ol prod­ucts.  States must be able to define cannabidiol’s med­ical use with­in their own states.

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment can­not have it both ways.  As the U.S. Supreme Court put it so elo­quent­ly in New York v. Unit­ed States, 505 U.S. 144, 161 (1992):

Con­gress may not sim­ply “com­man­deer the leg­isla­tive process­es of the States by direct­ly com­pelling them to enact and enforce a fed­er­al reg­u­la­to­ry pro­gram.” Hodel v. Vir­ginia Sur­face Min­ing & Recla­ma­tion Assn., Inc., 452 U.S. 264, 288 (1981).

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