Expert: In Brazil, Berlin, Medical Cannabis Is Sold in Pharmacies, There Is a ‘Strong Potential’ Legalization in the US Could Follow Suit

Kyle Detwiler, CEO of Clever Leaves, discusses his company’s donation of $1 million in medical-grade cannabis to research organizations for the purposes of advancing medical research.

Pharmacy Times interviewed Kyle Detwiler, CEO of Clever Leaves, on his work collaborating with research organizations and the donation of $1 million in medical-grade cannabis to support the advancement of medical research in the field.

During the interview, Detwiler discussed why there is a need for an increased supply of cannabis for medical research purposes in the United States, what the likely research goals are for the donated cannabis, how the cannabis will be transported from its production in Columbia to research organizations in the United States, and what the potential role of the pharmacy in medical cannabis dispensing may be in the future.

Detwiler said that ongoing discussions regarding US legalization of cannabis are largely based on the assumption it's going to happen in a dispensary format, similar to the established dispensing systems in states such as California, Nevada, and Oregon.

“If we look across the ocean or even to places like Brazil or Berlin, everything is sold in a pharmacy setting, and that's because there's a federal layer of legislation which activated the use of cannabis for medical purposes. So, you have to go back and think about how the US will legalize,” Detwiler said.

However, if a federal recreational market opens immediately, Detwiler noted dispensaries are likely to play a big role due to the pre-established role in cannabis dispensing in the United States to date.

“But if the Biden administration, working with Congress, set up a new approach—which is probably just a rescheduling of cannabis, moving it away from being neighbors with heroin and ecstasy and treated like a more regulated pharmaceutical product—well, we have a very fancy sophisticated pre-built system for the distribution of those substances, and they are called pharmacies. I actually think there is a strong potential, especially if federal legalization occurs focused on the medical channel, that pharmacies very well could play a big role,” Detwiler said.