It’s really unfortunate that our government is not ready to admit their wrong when it comes to marijuana policy, even in the slightest. Last week, the United States House Rules Committee decided not to allow three different proposals pertaining to medical marijuana to reach the House floor for a vote.
The first two of the three amendments were combined as a part of a collection of bills that would create a federal task force to investigate the best practices when it comes to pain management and prescribing pain medication. The task force is set to include members of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and the National Drug Control Policy among other federal entities.
One amendment would have had them studying the “potential for marijuana to serve as an alternative to opioids for pain management” and the other would have required the National Institutes of Health and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to study “medical application of marijuana and opioids for pain management,” including their relative addictiveness and efficacy.
One of the Representatives, Jarrod Polis, who, along with Dana Rohrabacher, submitted both of those amendments spoke before the committee before they made their decision not to advance these two bills.
“Medical marijuana is a possible and likely way to reduce opioid prescription painkiller abuse for chronic pain,” he said. “And unfortunately it’s hardly been explored due to government policy, in large part because of the federal government’s monopoly on legal cultivation and studies.”
He cited many private studies as well as reminded them that in states with medical marijuana the number of opiate related overdoses has dropped since legalization. He’s even willing to admit it doesn’t work for everyone in the same way – but that it still helps some people and therefore it should be an option.
“If it can avoid going onto narcotics, like opioids, which often lead to abuse, I think it can be an important part of the arsenal in dealing with this plague and epidemic of opioid abuse,” he said.
A third bill that was submitted separately would have cannabis plants and extracts that are rich in CBD and low in THC (most of these plants are industrial hemp, but might have included strains like Charlotte’s Web) removed from the legal definition of marijuana. It also would have stopped the federal law from treating CBD as a controlled substance. This would have been very similar to bills that many states have passed in order to aid children with seizure conditions – but even that was denied a vote by the full House.
Hopefully, these bills will get another shot in the near future as these kinds of studies are important if we ever hope to provide access to medical marijuana on a national level. There are so many countries ready and willing to give medical marijuana a shot and nearly half of our country has regardless of federal law – clearly the time for change is here and they just aren’t ready to accept that.