One thing I’ve learned ever since I started writing for The Marijuana Times is that our government seems to adore baby steps – and is afraid to do anything more, or so it would appear. We’ve discussed in the past how CBD only laws don’t really do much for medical marijuana patients in the long run as they only help a very small portion of patients who would benefit from medical cannabis. A handful of states who have not taken the leap to full medical marijuana programs have implemented CBD only laws, in order to protect the patients they believe need the medicine the most.
The same will be done if The Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act passes. The bill was just introduced by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on July 15th – surprisingly, it was introduced by notorious anti-marijuana Senator Chuck Grassley as well as Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy and Tom Tills. The bill would require the U.S. Surgeon General to determine whether or not cannabidiol should be considered a separate substance and if it should be excluded in the Controlled Substances Act.
While the passing of this bill would absolutely be a step forward in the federal law towards cannabis – it would not do very much overall. Taking CBD out of the Controlled Substances Act would open up research possibilities for only that one cannabinoid, when there is evidence that THC is just as beneficial (and in most cases the two work best when paired, as they are naturally) to a number of patients.
The law would also include a “Safe Harbor” for pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy – but it only covers children and their parents or legal caretakers. That “safe harbor” would not offer protection to any patients using THC products, or patients who were suffering from other conditions or over the age of pediatric care. This leaves only a very, very small portion of the United States medical marijuana patients protected.
“I applaud Senators Grassley, Feinstein, Tillis and Leahy for taking action on this issue and trying to help this population. As a parent of a child with intractable epilepsy, this bill does much to address the needs of epilepsy patients and their families,” Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs (ASA), said in a release. “However, the bill could do more as many patients with intractable epilepsy, including my daughter, need THC, as do millions of patients with other conditions across the country, and we need to do something to help them too.”
The truth is, this bill would be at the very least a baby step – something that would hopefully lead to more progress within Congress and eventually (we hope) to legalization as well. For now, it’s a start – but it feels like a delaying tactic, in the same way that many states are treating CBD only laws.