The U.S. Senate appears be taking up the battle over the medical marijuana. Two Democrats and one Republican are introducing a bill that would protect medical marijuana patients, doctors and businesses from federal prosecution in states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. 23 states and the District of Columbia permit the use of marijuana for prescribed medical purposes.
The bill also would remove marijuana from the category of most-dangerous drugs.
The bill, sponsored by Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Republic Rand Paul of Kentucky would give military veterans in states with medical marijuana laws easier access to the drug by allowing VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana.
Some of America’s 100 million chronic pain patients use marijuana to help treat their pain, and generally report it to be a help, but there is no real science on the subject. As one doctor told the National Pain Report recently, because of its classification as a Schedule 1 drug that has no medical benefit and its illegal status, studies essentially weren’t allowed.
A lower schedule for marijuana would not make it legal under federal law, but it may ease restrictions on research.
Now, remember if you live in one of the 27 states where medical marijuana is not legal, this won’t change much. The bill doesn’t force states to legalize medical marijuana, but it does protect states that do from federal interference.
Legalizing marijuana for recreational use is picking up steam, In Alaska, adults 21 and older can now transport, buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants. Washington D.C. just implemented a law approved by voters. Oregon voters approved a measure allowing adults to posses up to an ounce of marijuana in public and 8 ounces in their homes, set to take effect July 1.
Colorado and Washington previously passed similar ballot measures legalizing marijuana in 2012.
There are many strong voices still against marijuana legalization. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirmed its opposition to legalizing marijuana for recreational or medical use.
The White House Office of Drug Control Policy has this statement on its website, which seems to try and find a middle ground but certainly doesn’t support legalization.
There’s no middle ground for Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz. In February, he actually threatened Washington D.C. officials with going to jail before they made marijuana legal after voters approved an initiative. Marijuana is legal in D.C. and no public official has gone to jail as a result of that.
What do you think?
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