Pro-pot politicians are pounding the pavement this spring. A bipartisan bill put before Congress last Thursday would drop cannabis down to a Schedule III substance. Only a week earlier, legislation was introduced that would legalize cannabis outright.
Fixing their mistake
Cannabis, alongside heroin, currently resides in Schedule I, a category for substances the government claims,
…have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision and a high potential for abuse.
Studies, patient results, and pharmaceutical patents over the past 40 years have proven this in not the case with cannabis. Even the government itself admits cannabis kills cancer and is a viable treatment for several conditions. And all of human history can attest to the safety of cannabis. Not one recorded death. Ever.
For decades, the restriction to Schedule I limited the research that could take place. Furthermore, all cannabis for research has to come from one federal grow in Mississippi. A grow that produces such poor quality cannabis, researchers don’t even want to use it.
Schedule III is the same level as anabolic steroids, some cough syrups, and naloxone. The category is for substances that have:
A potential for abuse less than the drugs in schedules 1 and 2. The drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
Abuse of the drug may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
This would not only validate the medical claims of cannabis but allow researchers to access better quality testing material directly from the market.
The new generation
New generation Florida Reps. Matt Gaetz, a Republican, and Darren Soto, a Democrat, sponsored the bill. In a press release on Gaetz’ official page, they state that recent polls suggest 93% of Americans support doctor-prescribed cannabis.
This drug should not be in the same category as heroin and LSD, and we do not need to continue with a policy that turns thousands of young people into felons every year.
Nor do we need to punish the millions of people who are sick and seeking medical help – from pain, from muscle wasting, from chemotherapy-induced nausea.- Congressman Gaetz.
The nation may see a lot of younger politicians in the next few years. Times have changed, but many Congressmen have been in office almost as long as cannabis has been Schedule I.
With the tides of the nation turned, they must represent the new will of the people or get voted out. Supporting cannabis reform, once thought political suicide, is now career life-support.
Other pans in the fire
A week before this bill, Sen. Ron Wyden (Dem.-OR) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Dem.-OR) introduced a set of bills with an even broader scope.
The first would remove marijuana/cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, regulating it like alcohol.
The second would stop federal prosecution in legal states. The third would allow the cannabis industry to claim tax deductions like normal businesses.
The third would allow the cannabis industry to claim tax deductions like normal businesses.
With US Attorney General Jeff Sessions looking at cannabis policy in the coming months, the government rests on the edge of a scalpel between a big step forward, or a big step back.