Schumer talks cannabis with incoming AG Garland • GW Pharma acquired for billions • Kansas Gov. merges medicaid, cannabis plans • & more…

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Schumer meets with incoming AG, talks cannabis.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced this week that he met with incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland, and that cannabis was among the topics discussed.

“We had a much-needed discussion that focused on police accountability, voting rights, federal marijuana enforcement policy, domestic terrorism and accountability for those who participated in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th,” Schumer said in the statement. 

“Specifically I urged that the DOJ make protecting the vote a top priority, commit all of its tools to advancing accountability and improving trust of police officers, respect the rights of states that have legalized marijuana and bring the participants in the January 6th insurrection attempt to justice.”

+More: Read Cannabis Wire’s in-depth story about what the new Congress means for cannabis.

GW Pharmaceuticals acquired in a $7.2 billion deal.

There is no single company bigger than GW Pharmaceuticals when it comes to cannabis medicines. Not only has the company been at work in developing these medicines for decades, it was the first to see a medicine derived from cannabis plants through the US Food and Drug Administration approval process. That CBD-based product, Epidiolex, for rare epilepsies, was approved in 2018, and the company has another in the works in the US that contains both CBD and THC.

And, as Cannabis Wire was the first to report, the company had recently been quite active meeting with the White House on CBD regulations, and lobbying in all fifty states. 

Now, GW, listed on Nasdaq as GWPH, has been acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in a significant deal. Jazz, based in Ireland, and listed on Nasdaq as JAZZ, focuses on medicines for patients with serious diseases and limited options.

Kansas governor pushes medical cannabis to expand medicaid.

This week, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced a “Medicaid Expansion bill” that would also legalize medical cannabis.

While the bill has yet to be released, here is what is known: the Department of Health and Environment would oversee patients; the Department of Revenue would license and regulate businesses; the Board of Healing Arts would oversee participating physicians; and a “bipartisan medical marijuana advisory committee” would be created, with the the Secretary of Health and Environment as its chair, and its members selected by the governor and lawmakers.

“After nearly a year of challenges brought on by COVID-19, we need to use every tool at our disposal to protect the health of our workforce and our economy,” Kelly said in the announcement. “Getting 165,000 Kansans health care, injecting billions of dollars and thousands of jobs into our local economies, and protecting our rural hospitals will be critical to our recovery from the pandemic. By combining broadly popular, commonsense medical marijuana policy with our efforts to expand Medicaid, the revenue from the bill will pay for expansion.”

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