Its only February and the pro marijuana crowds are already making historical progress. In a first ever, several senators introduced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana on the federal level. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) are spearheading the “Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act” and if successful will finally bring an end to the war on medical marijuana.
Successful passage of the bill would not force states to adopt medical marijuana laws but would provide protection for those who choose to have them. Passage would also allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans and will also legalize the transportation of specific strains across state lines. One strain in particular is known as “Charlottes Web”, and although devoid of any intoxicating effects, it has proven extremely successful in treating children suffering from certain ailments and uncontrolled seizures.
Another important aspect of the bill seeks to change marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule I substance, which places it in a category next to heroin. Passage of the bill would force the DEA to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II substance, a designation that would finally acknowledge marijuana’s legitimacy as a medically useful substance (a gross understatement).
23 states along with the District of Columbia have some sort of medical marijuana laws currently on the books. Three states, including Alaska, Colorado, and Washington have gone even farther approving recreational marijuana as well.
As Katherine Neill of the Rice University’s Baker Institute stated, even if the bill doesn’t pass the first time around it is still significant because it opens the door to conversation on a federal level. Moving the discussion from big pharmas back offices and into the daylight means that the public will finally be able to engage in meaningful dialogue involving facts and science rather than blatant lies, propaganda and threats of imprisonment.