A two-month old Wisconsin law intended to allow patients with intractable epilepsy access to cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid, is not going as planned, Republican Gov. Scott Walker recently acknowledged.
That’s because, to date, not a single patient has been able to utilize the new law -- a fact that is not going to be changing any time soon.
As enacted, the measure reclassifies CBD from the state’s list of prohibited substances in instances where a physician or a state-licensed pharmacist dispenses it explicitly for the treatment of a seizure disorder. However, the law dictates that neither may do so unless they have first procured approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to do so.
With the FDA having recently confirmed CBD’s status as a schedule I controlled substance lacking any accepted medical value, it remains improbable that the agency will be signing off on such recommendations any time soon -- a reality that essentially eliminates its access to Wisconsin patients.
"Right now I don't know exactly how that would be done," Gov. Walker recently told reporters in response to questions about the law’s implementation.
However, Gov. Walker -- like the bill’s sponsors -- were well aware months ago that the measure, as written, was largely symbolic. "It's very controlled, from the examining board and oversight by pharmacists and physicians and I think that’s important moving forward,” Walker said upon signing the measure into law in April. “This is not in any way what we see with other laws across the country."
Indeed, it is not. Most other medical cannabis laws are written to be functional. Wisconsin’s law is not.
Lawmakers in Wisconsin are hardly the first to back-peddle on their previous promises in regard to the feasibility of CBD-specific legislation. Weeks after the passage of a similar law in Kentucky, doctors and researchers acknowledged that it would “likely take months, if not years” before any patients could obtain access to CBD under the state’s new law.
In total, nearly a dozen states have enacted legislation<http://norml.org/act> this year seeking to provide limited access to cannabidiol-dominant strains of cannabis or extracts.  However, virtually none of those laws provide for a viable in-state source for these products.