Chronicle AM: Ohio Becomes 46th Hemp State, Federal Employees to See Pain Prescribing Tightened, More... (7/30/19)

Hemp and CBD are now legal in Ohio, a federal agency has proposed letting people with low-level drug convictions work in credit unions, the Trump administration moves to tighten up opioid prescribing for federal employees, and more.

Federal employees will see prescribing of opioids tightened up in a bid to reduce abuse. (Creative Commons)
Hemp

Ohio Governor Signs Hemp, CBD Bill. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Tuesday signed into law SB 57, which legalizes hemp production in the state, moves CBD off the state's controlled substances list, and immediately ends all embargoes on CBD inventory. That means CBD products can be imported into the state beginning now.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Trump Administration to Reduce Length of Opioid Prescriptions for Federal Employees. The Trump administration said Monday that the government's employee health program, which covers nine million workers, retirees, and family members, will tighten its rules for prescribing opioid pain relievers beginning this fall. The move is not aimed at patients with intractable pain from diseases such as cancer but is geared toward preventing over-prescribing to people who might just need the drugs for a short period of time, such as after surgery. Under the new policy, the initial prescription will be for a 7-day supply, instead of up to 30 days. Patients will be able get up to three refills of seven days apiece. Formal reauthorization that involves consulting a clinical professional will be required every 28 days.

[Ed: They should be very, very careful about this. It's true that short-term pain situations have different stakes attached than chronic pain situations, and some observers believe the handling of short-term pain is where some of the problems of recent years have arisen. But they should be very careful about it. One question is how long the 28 day requirement remains in place -- if it's permanent, that may be an undue burden on chronic pain patients. Another reason care is needed is that this imposes a blanket rule that may or may not be ideal for every situation -- as opposed to providing guidance or education. It also may fuel more restricting of opioids than is intended.]

Drug Policy

Federal Agency Proposes Letting People with Drug Convictions Work at Credit Unions. The National Credit Union Administration has published a draft rule that would exempt people with low-level drug convictions from a ban on working with credit unions. The agency said existing policies barring people with various criminal convictions require excessive regulatory enforcement and that lifting the ban for some low-level crimes, including simple drug possession, would "expand career opportunities for those who have demonstrated remorse and responsibility for past indiscretions." The agency is accepting public comments on the proposed change until September 27.

International

St. Kitts and Nevis Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed. The government of St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday filed a bill to legalize marijuana in the Caribbean island nation. The bill would legalize marijuana for "medicinal and scientific, religious, and recreational purposes," the government said. The move comes several months after the Team Unity government of Prime Minister Timothy Harris declared it was moving toward a legalization bill.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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