Congressman Matt Gaetz Applauds FDA Approving First Cannabis-Based Prescription Drug

June 25, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) today issued the following statement applauding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving the first prescription drug derived from the cannabis plant, as a treatment for specific forms of epilepsy. 

Earlier this year, Rep. Gaetz introduced bipartisan legislation, known as H.R. 5634, the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018, that would unlock the potential to research the cures offered by medical cannabis, which could prove beneficial to veterans, the chronically ill, and the elderly. The legislation does not change the legal status of cannabis, and does not interfere with federal, state, or local cannabis laws.

“Today, the FDA announced that it had approved the first cannabis-derived medicine for U.S. sale, marking a huge step forward for the future of medical cannabis research. GW Pharmaceuticals’ medicine “Epidiolex” is made from CBD, a component of cannabis, and has been approved for the treatment of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. The FDA’s approval confirms what many Americans have known for a long time: cannabis has immense and untapped medical uses. Epidiolex proves this to be true — and if its approval means that the FDA will end up rescheduling CBD out of Schedule 1, medical and scientific research will both be greatly benefited.

I am pleased that FDA Administrator Scott Gottlieb acknowledges the benefits of cannabis research. Administrator Gottlieb’s statement on the approval of Epidiolex said that “the FDA will continue to support rigorous scientific research on potential medical treatments using marijuana and its components […] through the appropriate scientific channels.” I strongly agree that more research is crucial. This is why I have introduced H.R. 5634, the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018, legislation which reduces the legal and bureaucratic hurdles facing American scientists who wish to research medical cannabis.

Approving Epidiolex was a tremendous victory for clear-eyed scientific research. I am optimistic that today’s approval will help prove to those people who are reflexively anti-cannabis that this drug has legitimate and real medical potential. Further cannabis research will help unlock new cures, and a healthier, safer America,” Rep. Gaetz said.