Even though nearly two-thirds of states have some level of cannabis legalization, Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) is illegal in every U.S. state. The burden on the more than 18,000 law enforcement entities in the U.S. to quickly assess the level of driver impairment due to drug use is significant. It has been shown that 43% of fatally-injured drivers with known test results tested positive for drugs or cannabis. This exceeds those that tested positive for alcohol.
Workplace drug screening has been commonplace in the U.S since the early 1970’s. By 1988 regulations required that any company with a U.S. Government contract over $25,000 provide a drug-free workplace, which included employee drug screening. It is estimated that 90% of Fortune 1000 companies have mandatory drug testing programs, and 62% of all employers in the U.S. have compulsory programs. Current urine workplace drug screening technology only identifies historic use. It does not measure impairment, an increasingly important parameter for employers driven by the growing legalization of cannabis.
There are an estimated 7000 emergency room facilities in the U.S, and an additional estimated 7000 Urgent Care Centers. A University of Colorado Hospital study (March 2019) for the period 2012 to 2016 reported a more than threefold increase in cannabis related visits. Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana in 2014. The study suggested that the majority of these cases were attributable to the edible form of cannabis.
In 2018, FDA approved the first cannabis derived drug, Epidiolex, for epileptic seizures making cannabis research a priority in many biopharma companies and academic institutions. “This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development.” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. Recent legalization of Hemp is also having an impact on increased interest in the research of CBD (non-psychoactive) products.