A follow-up to a NAACP Health Committee workshop
The late Dr. Lester Grinspoon once said, “Cannabis is becoming increasingly understood that it is a very interesting and versatile medicine with much less toxicity than some of the pharmaceutical products it replaces.” According to the National Institute of Health, people have used marijuana to treat their ailments for at least 3,000 years. However, the road to effective medical marijuana programs have not been easy or swift.
The debate over the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana is ongoing. While 35 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have active medical marijuana laws, the federal government still classifies it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Research and education remain an integral part of refining the program while continuing to help patients gain access to medical marijuana treatments and/or resources.
The FDA recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities. However, the FDA is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk. According to the FDA, they are committed to protecting the public health while also taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products.
On August 13, 2021, a group of 12 citizens had the opportunity to tour two cannabis processing facilities in Dayton. The tour was a follow-up to a workshop the NAACP Health Committee Chairperson, Ms. Felicia A. Hill, BSN, RN held earlier this month. The workshop was titled, “What’s the Buzz? Medical Marijuana in Ohio.” The Health committee objectives include assessing the health needs of the community, advocating for equal access to health education, care, treatment and research for all Americans, and sponsoring health related activities highlighting issues of importance. All three objectives were accomplished.
The purpose of the tours was to provide increased awareness and education about the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), specifically cultivation, processing, testing and dispensaries. Nurse Hill applauded the accomplishments of the OMMP in promoting community/consumer awareness regarding, research, policy and regulation relative to medical marijuana and business opportunities. She explained it is important to understand the medical benefits of being able to help the increasing number of patients who are eligible to receive marijuana for medicinal purposes. Nurse Hill explained the economic benefits for those who decide to venture into the medical marijuana business. Economic benefits may also include a boost in the local economy.
The group toured the Ohio Clean Leaf facility at 2046 Valley St., Dayton 45404. The tour was guided by Mr. Aaron Morgan, VP of Cultivation, Compliance, and Inventory. Everyone toured cultivation rooms, processing rooms where they learned about seed production, growing time, specific processing details, and finally the packaging room.
A member of the group, Ms. Tasha Roundtree, shared why she is a strong advocate for medical marijuana. She shared how she worked with legislators to have criminal marijuana records expunged. To date she has been instrumental in the expungement of 600 records. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill) removed hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). This means that cannabis plants and derivatives that contain no more than 0.3 percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry weight basis are no longer controlled substances under the CSA. While hemp that meets this definition is no longer controlled under the CSA, FDA-regulated products containing hemp must still meet applicable requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act.
Noohra Labs was the second processing facility toured. Noohra Labs is located at 3700 Inpark Circle, Dayton 45415. It is a minority owned women led medical marijuana processing business. Mrs. Nickole Ross is the COO and owner. She has over 9 years’ experience in operation management and business marketing. As COO she has raised over $2.5 million through a family and friends’ series round and aligned with national cannabis brands to support Ohio’s developing cannabis industry. Mrs. Ross stated, “Through education, support and creating awareness of the power and benefits of cannabis, Noohra Labs team is committed to improving the way of life with cannabis with high-quality, safe products and resources.”