First Congressional hearing: “CANNABIS POLICIES FOR THE NEW DECADE”

First Congressional hearing: “CANNABIS POLICIES FOR THE NEW DECADE”

When Congress held its first congressional hearing on Cannabis this month, it was an unexpected and groundbreaking event I had not allowed myself to dream would happen in my lifetime. The purpose of the 3.5-hour hearing was to examine the pressing need for medical research to provide better education for an understanding of chemical compounds in cannabis and CBD from hemp.

Let’s take this opportunity to review how we find ourselves in a situation where states are deciding on allowing use both medically and recreationally before the national government is sanctioning its use.

Basic Facts:

  • President Nixon listed cannabis into Schedule I, along with other drugs such as heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. Once put into this category, it means it was decided they have no medical value and have a high potential for abuse so these substances must be highly controlled.
  • Schedule I means A scientist must receive approval from all three departments, DEA, FDA, and NIH for research. This makes a very lengthy process. 
  • Scientists may only use the cannabis being grown at the University of Mississippi
  • Cannabis being grown at this university is lacking commercial growing quality and potency so many believe this government-sanctioned and grown cannabis is not capable of providing legitimate research data and thus real facts.
  • The country is caught in a Catch 22 - there is a need to show the facts for medical and recreational use, but this cannot be demonstrated without the essential research 
  • The government enacted the Farm Bill in Dec 2018, opening the gates for hemp CBD to be grown and used but did not include regulations about use, dosage, and other safety information
  • So, there are many companies now producing and selling CBD products from creams, pills, edibles, hair products, etc. with no regulations and standards.
  • People are purchasing CBD products from hemp dreaming for positive results advertised but with no knowledge of the high prices they are paying actual can guarantee what is being claimed.
  • CBD can cause drug interactions but is anyone warning the public of this?
  • Some companies have been sent warning letters of false advertising claiming unproven cures and solutions that may not be real.
  • Thirty-three states now have approved various renditions of medical use and eleven states and the District of Columbia have also added recreational use.
  • Approximately 44 million patients used cannabis last year, according to the Department of Health
  • There are six bills being considered presently - 

H.R. 171, the “Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marihuana Act” or the “LUMMA”

H.R. 601, the “Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019”

H.R. 1151, the “Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act”

H.R. 2843, the “Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act”

H.R. 3797, the “Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019”

H.R. 3884, the “Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019” or the “MORE Act of 2019”

Concerns that need to be clarified for us all:

  • How does cannabis affect a pregnant woman and the fetus?
  • THC varies from plant to plant and state to state - we have no consistency
  • Concerns with quality and control of cannabis and hemp CBD on the market
  • FDA states it could take 3-5 years to study and report on CBD, but it is already flooding the market in so many forms.
  • In some states, people are still getting unjustly incarcerated, denied housing, jobs, and student loans, to name a few examples, by using cannabis.
  • The decision one makes to consider using hemp CBD or cannabis should be driven by data that isn’t easy to accomplish thanks to scheduling I and only one source for use
  • Legal states work with little to no date for their programs so arbitrary products are on the market
  • Is it shown through research that children using cannabis for recreational use are lowering their academic function?
  • Is it accurate that children are at risk of addiction and even possible psychosis?
  • How do we identify is cannabis is responsible for driving accidents and if so, what could be the strategies used to be able to accurately determine this?

The witnesses for the Hearing:

Matthew J. Strait

Senior Policy Advisor, Diversion Control Division

Drug Enforcement Administration

Douglas Throckmorton, M.D.

Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Food and Drug Administration

Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

National Institutes of Health

Clear Agreement by All:

  • Cannabis shows promise for the therapeutic potential for pain, neurological disorders like seizures and nausea
  • Due to this finding, in 2018, the FDA approved Eppidoix, for those two and older for specific seizures.
  • All agreed we owe to society to research both cannabis and CBD to obtain the correct facts to the public

There is going to be a second hearing conducted that has not been announced. It is wonderful to see we are finally having this conversation in our country and working towards ways to research in a timely manner. The public needs to be making educated decisions!

May life be kind to you,

Ellen Lenox Smith

Author of: It Hurts Like Hell! I Live With Pain– And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of the National Pain Report.

Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical cannabis advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, along with Ellen on the board and they both also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. For more information about medical cannabis visit their website.

Authored by: Ellen Lenox Smith

Ellen Lenox Smith and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical cannabis advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, along with Ellen on the board and they both also serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition. For more information about medical cannabis visit their website.

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Ann Sable

Oh Dania, if you must toke then toke. Every single person has a right to their own feelings and thoughts. Freedom at best. “Don’t tread on me”. You of all people should know all of this…being a vet and all. But, you do NOT have the right for name calling or threatening…ever. Not one person here said anything about threatening to keep you from your “medical” usage. Don’t forget it dear, pot is plenty, pain meds aren’t. Glad that you were able to overcome such ailments. Not so many of us are that lucky, or should I say, blessed. And, from the post before this one where it was overly mentioned about how marijuana/Krarom community was so loving, caring and the best…you sadly blew that one out of the water. One bad apple will definitely spoil the whole bunch. As goes for the other lady that felt she needed to attack Margie…I feel nothing but pure sympathy towards you and Lisa. I truly feel sorry for you both. Hopefully, you’ll look within yourselves and realize that your conduct and conflicts were completely uncalled for and just shown everyone your true colors. Tsk-Tsk. Good news is, that there’s always a new day in a 24 hour cycle. Let’s make the best of ourselves, shall we? May God be with you all…blessings and best wishes.

My dear Lisa, you make me laugh.🙈🙉🙊😃

My dear Lisa, this is America and I can say whatever the heck I want to say and if you don’t like it that’s your tough luck. As far as being educated on marijuana no I don’t have a lab that I can sit there and do strain testing on what each marijuana strand does. Glad you’re educating everyone on the different strands obviously you have a lab somewhere but you have NO RIGHT try to stifle my opinion. Why do you think you have the right to say to me what I can and cannot be saying. Why don’t you educate yourself on free speech.👅

Dania Mikus

Whoever opposes legalization is simply ignorant.
Im a disabled army vet, and an everyday Mary Jane smoker. To be “compliant”, I tried all their pills. Then one day I simply woke up.i have been psyche medication free for 10 years, and people to a spinal fusion July 17th, only used mj to relieve my pain. I used the opiates the va gave me post surgery, minimally, for exactly 2 weeks. Nothing but weed and cbd since. Last week, for my 6 month post OP anniversary, I hiked/bouldered an eight mile trail with 8 ropes to ascend descend out by the Hoover dam, it was rated as difficult. Id say im fully healed. I was given a 50/50 chance of full recovery, since my injury was 4 years old and im 45.
I say all that to say this. If you oppose it, I personally feel you’re trying to take MY medication without any obvious education of its benefits, and that make you sounds like an ignorant fool.
And for the one who thinks I can be so easily taken over because I’m stoned all the time, please. Come try.


My dear Margie. You are entitled to your opinion that marijuana and CBD oil does not work for pain. However, I personally do know, that in Fact, it does work.
There are different strains for different kinds of issues. It is not a one strain works on all medical issues. There are strains that lower pressure of the optic nerve which along with glaucoma eye drop medication, improves your overall numbers and slows the progression of glaucoma. Strains that take heartburn away, improve sleep disorders, claims digestive disorders, reduces inflammation, takes care of headaches & seizures and yes, reduces pains, among a list of other conditions. You need to fully educate yourself before making a statement about something that is helpful, you obviously did not on this particular subject. Look into it futher and get educated and you can have another possible alternative to help with your condition.

Ann Sable

To Thomas Wayne Kidd: That was my very thought after reading this. And to Margie: As to your comment, I can’t thank you enough for being awake with the truth in all of this.

Also, sad to even think this, but all the above is the new groove for the government as they get rid of the old/faze out pain meds completely. It’s another repeat only with a different form/regime (i.e. mj/cannabis/cbd/kratom).

Recreational use? Meanwhile, millions are out there suffering and dieing due to having pain meds ripped from them…,but not just medicinal use -let’s make it recreational as well. What in the world is happening here? Just a little something we need to really think about here. Want recreational activities? Read a book, a bible, watch a movie…get creative. I am with all for relief, but I am not for the foolishness.

They’ve had trouble in Colorado with people using chemicals on their marijuana & causing death. Yes chemicals can be put on marijuana to keep them from growing a fungus. A fungus alone can cause someone to die. And gov already analyzed marijuana back in 1950 . They’re acting like it’s a new thing. Marijuana does not work for pain neither does CBD oil. But they sure can sell the crap out of it for tax money while letting people in chronic pain die. Folks you haven’t figured this out there is no doctor behind us to help us it’s every man for himself. But it needs to be all chronic pain people coming together + stop whining about this and do something because the thing y’all haven’t figured out is that the war is already almost over it’s near its end. When the government decides to do things they’ve already had it under control before it even began. They’ve already plotted out their Siege of attack before anyone realizes & obviously still don’t realize this war against pain patients started years before the low mg prescribing. they already had their focus on what doctors they were going to scoop up already had their Intel. don’t you think they’re already got notes on everyone who comments on here, they have ears of all the conversations here. If you want to fight you got to get loud you got to be public. I’m talking about Mass groups not four five moms on YouTube. During Prime Time ads R run on TV first words out of the mouth is the truth about opiates. When it’s all Bs but they’re trying to convince those not in pain. This is the nail in the coffin.


Finally an open dialogue! It’s about time we try nature’s medicine as opposed to the scientific medications only. I know it is years away but the discussion has started…

I am alergic to pot. The only pain medication I can have is tyenol products. Roux En Y gastric by pass patients can’t take any Nsaids it causes bleeding & a hole in their pouch & lower intestines. Opiads are the only thing that help my cronic pain.


Yay!! MJ is still not available where I live, but maybe soon and maybe it will help!

Paula Beanes

Why are you calling Cannibus a “chemical compound”? It is grown naturally out of the ground. Nothing added. No chemicals in it.


And yet I am still amazed that the Govt still hasn’t admitted or even corrected that they usually tend to act first and then think, analyze and come to a rational decision on most things for what appears to be a fear of looking stupid. I don’t think you can look any more stupid than after millions of people kill themselves or die of heart attacks, strokes, etc. due to the lack of facts and the passing of the buck from another brilliant decision like this lie that is the Opioid Epidemic that they continue to push. They hardly even address this situation at all which they created and are trying very hard to avoid now that they are aware of the trouble they have caused. Meanwhile you don’t see true addicts having any trouble getting their hands on what they want/need.


Good grief. We wlll have all expired before a bowl is approved for use with an opiod. Of course we are depressed . Tortured for four years and just z pill away from dead. Why has this happened? We want to live to see the sunrise but even an appointment gooffed by an office newbie and we are gone. HOW CAN THE COUNTRY ACT LIKE A 20 YEAR DISEASE IS NOT PROGRESSIVE IT IS NOT EVEN THERE. I HAVE BOTH FOOT AND NOW FINGER INVOLVEMENT. They don’t even hear it. Just gettinv me ftom 126 to 90 mme. I msde a will. I can’t stand it. What am I supposed to do. We cant use pot and noby is in this lifetime.

It’s about time! However people that have been using. Marijuana for decades already know what it does for them & also know it does not harm them. So maybe the research should include the many people that have been using or jailed for smoking as they have the knowledge to help your research. God gave us mother 🌎 earth & everything on it for a reason& it’s up to us to use these things for good. We need to stop destroying them before It’s to late.

Thomas Wayne Kidd

With people stoned out of their minds they’ll be easier to control.