Despite the dearth of approved marijuana products, the term “medical marijuana” has become commonplace, and the term’s prevalence continues to increase as more states legalize the use of the marijuana plant and its active derivatives for medical purposes, and marijuana dispensaries continue to expand throughout the United States.  As of 2017, 29 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  (Despite state laws legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance its distribution and use remain illegal under Federal law.)

Studies on the potential of the marijuana plant or its extracts continue to expand and include, among others, treating pain,  preventing seizures,  and treating autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease.  However, despite assertions of efficacy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as a medicine, and to date, the FDA has only approved three products – Marinol® and Syndrox®, which include the active ingredient, dronabinol, a synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), to treat nausea associated with chemotherapy and loss of appetite in AIDS patients; and Cesamet®, which includes the active ingredient, nabilone, a synthetically derived compound with a structure similar to THC, to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.  These drugs are available by prescription only.

Continue Reading Is Medical Marijuana Really Medicinal?

As of January 2017, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana.  However, marijuana remains a Schedule l substance under the Controlled Substances Act.  Substances in Schedule l are determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have no medical use, and states that allow the use of marijuana for medical use violate federal law.
Continue Reading Food and Drug Administration’s Regulation of Cannabis

Strong intellectual property is the cornerstone of most start-up companies, and in most cases it is the key asset utilized by companies in securing financing and investment.  Studies have estimated that non-tangible assets represent over 80% of an average business’ value, and when it comes to startups, the number is even higher.[1]  The marijuana industry, because of its uncertain legal status under federal law, is at a strategic disadvantage, but despite this fact, the industry has still continued to blossom and is currently valued at $6.7 B and is expected to rise to almost $20 B by 2020.[2]  However, failure to secure traditional forms of intellectual property (i.e., patents, trademarks, and copyrights) should not dissuade marijuana entrepreneurs from the inherent value intellectual property.  Developing a keen business strategy around both traditional and non-traditional forms of intellectual property can open the door to additional revenue opportunities.
Continue Reading Unharvested Opportunities for the Marijuana Industry – Exploiting Non-Traditional Forms of Intellectual Property