Cannabis Miracle Drug Breaks Through Legal Barriers

In what is being hailed as a landmark decision and historic first, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug with an active ingredient derived naturally from the cannabis plant. The FDA approved the drug, called Epidiolex, because it was proven to be effective in treating patients aged two and older who suffer from some rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

Developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex is derived from cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana that does not cause intoxication. The ruling is historic because it removes a longstanding stigma associated with marijuana and opens the door for other cannabis drugs to gain approval.

Cannabis Gaining Respect

Besides spurring further research, the approval of Epidiolex should engender a more relaxed and open-minded attitude towards cannabis drugs. We recently discussed the shifting attitudes towards cannabis by politicians and the general public as seen in the warm welcome being received by new cannabis manufacturing plants being built.

“This approval is historic in that it allows us, as a pharmaceutical company, to talk about this product in the way that pharmaceutical companies normally talk about their drugs,” said GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover.

Despite a wealth of evidence that cannabis has significant medical benefits, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug that has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Thus, Epidiolex must be approved not only by the FDA, but by the DEA as well before it can be legally dispensed.

GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover sees no problem in the DEA reclassifying cannabis, pointing out that because the FDA’s approval is a determination of an accepted medical use, the DEA must recognize this, and Epidiolex will not remain classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

Hurdles Remain

The recognition that untapped curative powers reside in the cannabis plant is a big step forward in the mainstreaming of cannabis. However, there are still a considerable number of legal hurdles and institutionalized anti-cannabis sentiment that cannabis researchers must deal with.

As researcher Jacci Bainbridge reveals, she and other cannabis researchers are frustrated by the requirements imposed on them, including extra paperwork, committees, planning, and inspections—hurdles, she says, that researchers studying heroin don’t even have to face.

Even as the pendulum swings towards the acceptance of cannabis, the debate about the risks and benefits of cannabis is still being waged. There also are politicians and pundits who continue to demonize cannabis. Although Canada’s Senate voted to legalize cannabis, the bill was passed “over the objections of Conservative senators who remained resolutely opposed,” the Montreal Gazette reported.

Opponents will have an increasingly uphill battle as the medical benefits of cannabis continue to mount. As The Week reported, “The evidence suggests cannabis is a relatively safe drug that provides a host of medical benefits.”

Drug Source Should Not Be an Impediment

As GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover observed, the focus should be on the effectiveness of a drug rather than its origins, pointing out that there are very few medicines prescribed because of their origin as opposed to what they can do for a patient.

Although the FDA’a approval of Epidiolex is a historic milestone, said Gover, when it comes to physicians prescribing the drug, it’s about the efficacy and safety profile. Besides the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex, physicians will recognize the importance of positive studies that were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, he noted.

What’s Next?

While cannabis has been found to provide relief for a good number of ailments, researchers have only scratched the surface in uncovering its potential uses. “It’s actually quite amazing how little we really know about something that has been used for thousands of years,” said Sachin Patel, a cannabis researcher at Vanderbilt University.

The FDA’s approval of Epidiolex has observers speculating as to what will be the next cannabis drug to win approval. GW Pharma says it is developing a number of potential new cannabis-derived drugs for epilepsy, glioblastoma, and schizophrenia.

Interestingly, Epidiolex is not the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug. That honor goes to another GW Pharma drug called Sativex, which has been approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in numerous countries outside the United States.

According to outsiderclub.com, a former GW Pharma medical director has left the company and is now chief medical officer at a new cannabis drug company that is developing a drug that kills cancer cells.

As the cannabis barriers continue to fall, it seems as if it will only be a matter of time the full spectrum of medical benefits are able to be discovered. As the Outsider Club reported:

“Marijuana is the real deal. It’s here to stay. Legalization timelines are being compressed and expedited. And it’s created hundreds of billions in new wealth.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 

 


New Feature in Advanced Billing: Generate Date Calculation

In the upcoming Release 18 of Advanced Billing for Acumatica, we added a requested feature for calculating a “generate date” based on the contract terms. If you have contract invoice terms of 30 days, meaning the bill is due 30 days after the invoice date, and you want to have the due date entered as the date of the generated invoice, the Advanced Billing system will calculate the date for you.

First, enter a contract and set the terms to 30 Days. Make sure “Back Off Generation Date by Term Date” is checked.

Next, Auto Generate Billing Schedule.

Contract schedules are created with the correctly calculated dates. Notice the beginning date of the contract and distribution period is still 8/1/2018, but the generation date has been recalculated to be 7/2/2018, so the due date of the invoice will be 8/1/2018.

MaxQ is a provider of advanced Acumatica business solutions across a wide range of applications and industries

Contact us to learn more about how MaxQ for Acumatica solutions can help your business.


A Big Shift in Attitude Is Positive for Cannabis Industry

The winds of change are blowing across the country as politicians and the public turn from hostility to a more accepting and welcoming attitude towards cannabis. The removal of political roadblocks is good news for cannabis manufacturers, as the market seems to have reached a tipping point with more and more states legalizing cannabis and the worldwide market expanding.

The expansion of cannabis manufacturing is continuing at a rapid pace throughout the United States. We’ve reported on new factories cropping up in Florida, Nevada, and California, and now another new plant is set to open in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the second cannabis operation to open in that state.

Getting on the Cannabis Bandwagon

As the number of cannabis manufacturing plants increases, we are seeing a steady stream of stories about changes to state laws, new permits being issued to manufacturers, and comments from state officials and local populations about the positive impact the cannabis industry is having on their region.

This turnaround is significant because even medical cannabis has taken a hit from politicians who have conflated medical and recreational marijuana while demonizing cannabis to the public. The tone is changing as we hear positive statements from politicians like Cedar Rapids city manager Jeff Pomeranz, who had only praise for the new cannabis plant in his district.

“It’s twenty-one new jobs, manufacturing in Cedar Rapids, it will be good for the people of Iowa, and it makes sense for Iowa’s second-largest city to have a plant,” said Pomerantz.

The Cedar Rapids plant is being built by Iowa Relieve, a subsidiary of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest medical cannabis manufacturers, with cultivation, processing, and dispensary operations in 12 states. Like MedMen and other major cannabis manufacturers, Acreage Farms is expanding rapidly and has plans to set up operations in New York, Florida, and Maryland this year. The company also has plans to become a publicly traded company in Canada.

Citing the growing recognition of the benefits of medical cannabis, Acreage Farms observed that, “As cannabis becomes legal across the country, we’re witnessing a pivotal moment in medical research and treatment — the kind of shift that changes lives for millions.”

No Federal Crackdown  in Massachusetts

Another positive sign for the cannabis industry is U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling issuing a statement that his office essentially will not interfere with the public consumption of recreational cannibis, which became legal in Massachusetts as of July 1. Lelling said his office would limit its enforcement activity to out-of-state sales, sales to minors, and organized crime.

As Jason Williams reported, this is big news and signals a huge win for the cannabis industry. “Even staunch opponents like Lelling are bending to the awesome might of this growing juggernaut,” said Wiliams.

Hope is seen on the federal level as well. As The New York Times reported, President Trump recently said he would likely support a bill introduced by Senators Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren to leave it up to individual states to legalize marijuana. This view is in “stark contrast” to the tough stance Trump and his administration have taken towards cannabis previously, said the report.

This new bill comes on the heels of a bill introduced by Senator Charles Schumer in April that would decriminalize cannabis on a federal level.

The cannabis industry has been operating under a cloud because of a conflict between federal and state laws. As Inc. reported, if these statutes pass, there could finally be a resolution to the “odd reality” in which selling a joint could land you in jail under federal law and give you a paycheck under state law.

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing management solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and business solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Power BI Gives Businesses Super Powers

Since Microsoft’s Power BI launched as part of Office 365 in July 2013, it has evolved at a rapid pace and blossomed into a full-blown feature-rich modern business intelligence tool.

In July 2015, Power BI had 45,000 users worldwide. Today that number has grown to more than 5 million users.

What makes Power BI such a compelling business tool is a combination of strong data visualization capabilities, ease of use, and affordability (starting at free, with a Pro version priced at $10 per user per month). Moreover, Power BI can be accessed from the cloud, run as a desktop app, embedded in applications, integrated with other business planning tools, and optimized for mobile devices.

BI Barriers Fall

Years ago, obtaining the capabilities that Power BI provides required complex and expensive systems that had to be implemented by specially trained data scientists. A data scientist would develop a design concept and hope it would deliver the results you desired. Because of the cost, complexity, and specialized skill requirements, only the largest enterprises with the deepest pockets could afford these types of BI systems.

Power BI has changed the game, enabling small and midsize organizations to perform analyses and visualize data in ways that previously were prohibitively complex and expensive. Rather than the long development periods required to build these systems in the past (often weeks, months, and years), users can get accurate and actionable results in only a few hours. Moreover, real-time updates can be used to enable business managers to leverage a continual flow of insights.

Seeing how Power BI has been deployed by real-life companies shows the benefits that can be gained, as well as the ease and speed with which a Power BI application can be set up and immediately begin delivering useful insights.

Real-Time Insights Pay Dividends

Pizza Express in the UK was able to gain real-time insights and improve its business operations by deploying Power BI. As part of its strategy to expand worldwide, the company migrated all its data to the Azure cloud, created a data warehouse, and began using the data to make decisions based on its customers’ preferences.

Real-time monitoring comes from a tool called Event Stream that was built using Microsoft Event Hub and Data Factory. Besides giving managers an up-to-the-minute view of the business, it allows Pizza Express to track customer activity and make personalized offers. While in the past, building a tool like this would have been complex and time-consuming, Pizza Express was able to set it quickly using ready-made Microsoft tools.

Power BI has enabled Pizza Express to aggregate sales, customer, and operational data that used to reside in different places. The system enables the management team to combine all its key performance indicators (KPIs) to gain a comprehensive look at the company’s sales data, customer preferences, and profitability. Thirty regional managers can access the performance data on mobile devices to view results by region, area, and individual restaurant.

As Pizza Express IT director Siobhan Fagan noted, having precise information on demand means the company can be agile, decisive, and respond much better to its customers.

Better Management Through Power BI

The use of Power BI by Howell-Jones, a law firm in the UK, shows how not only law firms, but many types of agencies, can benefit from Power BI. As Howell-Jones operations director Chris Cato notes, personalized dashboards with complex data could be spun up in minutes by non-IT staff to deliver insights throughout the firm. Team leaders could use Power BI to manage caseloads across entire teams, distributing work to maximize collective output.

The Howell-Jones management team was able to generate high-level visual reports that were updated in real-time, which they could drill down into to analyze all aspects of the business, such as lawyer’s workloads, fees vs. targets, billable hours vs. targets, time from enquiry to billing, cross-department work referrals, and more. In addition, financial insights that previously were available exclusively to the management team could be surfaced and shared around the business.

The marketing team could see real-time inquiries and divert spending to take advantage of opportunities as they arose. The marketers also could drill into the data to refine their strategy based on the results of individual campaigns, how initiatives converted to new clients, and the lifetime value of marketing investments.

New Doors Open  

As these case studies show, Power BI is a game changer, making possible analyses and visualizations that had previously been too difficult and too expensive for most businesses. While the examples above involve the hospitality and legal sectors, the same techniques can be applied to any type of business to realize similar benefits.

We’ll continue looking at how Power BI is unlocking new possibilities across various industries in future posts.

MaxQ Technologies provides state-of-the-art Power BI solutions and incorporates Power BI within advanced business solution suites. Contact us to learn more about Power BI and how your business could benefit from a Power BI solution.