The support for nationwide cannabis law reform and legalization is increasing. Some of the supporters may be a surprise given their previous stances on the plant. Recently, the federal government sought comments from the public regarding the rescheduling of cannabis and CBD. The World Health Organization already supports removing CBD from the Controlled Substances Act. Below we will discuss the new, high-profile support for cannabis law reform.
On April 20th Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, introduced legislation to decriminalize cannabis possession federally. Cannabis has been listed on the Controlled Substances Act since 1970, putting it in the same class as heroin and other dangerous drugs. The legislation has multiple advantages if it garners ample support and gets passed.
One of the major advantages would be opening the door for more research. More research could provide the information that is already known, but in black and white, to move national legalization forward and end the stigma associated with cannabis. It would also allow funding for female-owned and minority-owned cannabis businesses. The impact of cannabis would be closely scrutinized.
Schumer said, “If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?”
John Boehner is the former Speaker of the House. He recently announced that his opinion of cannabis has evolved. He’s now involved in Acreage Holdings. He fully supports rescheduling cannabis to open the doors for research, particularly for veterans, and help curb the nation’s opioid crisis.
He said, “I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”
Acreage Holdings is a multi-state cannabis industry business. Its goal is to “make cannabis available to any patient who can benefit from safe and reliable access”.
Boehner says it’s time for a shift in federal cannabis policy.
Mitch McConnell is working to legalize national hemp production. He’s introduced legislation to do so. He says that industrial hemp can revitalize the agricultural economy. The government needs to get out of the way, he said.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would remove barriers restricting hemp production and would remove it from the Controlled Substances Act. Banking would be permitted. Hemp companies would be able to obtain necessary insurance. Research could be performed on a wider scale.
McConnell said, “As I’ve traveled across Kentucky, I’ve spoken with farmers, manufacturers and small business owners. Time and time again, they shared with me their enthusiasm for hemp’s potential to reenergize agricultural communities and provide a new spark to the US economy. This bill will help make that potential a reality.”
Hemp has hundreds of uses from dietary supplement to healing medicine to building materials. It’s capable of being a source of biofuel and bioenergy. Hemp can become clothing and has many industrial uses, including building materials and biodegradable plastic material.
Several states partake in hemp production thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill. Some governors have vetoed industrial hemp legislation – which remains a conundrum since it can’t get anyone high. Some think that cannabis cultivators will hide plants in the industrial hemp fields, but what they don’t realize is that the hemp will take over the cannabis and the cannabis will not thrive. It grows much more aggressively than cannabis does.
President Trump has reiterated that cannabis laws should be left up to the states. He is supportive of medical cannabis, but believe states should determine on their own what’s right for their citizens. He reassured Senator Cory Booker that he would not be interfering.
Signage of some sort of bill or legislation is expected in the near future to prevent federal interference. Trump is, at heart, a business man. He sees the potential that the cannabis industry has and how much its revenue is positively impacting states that have legalized it.
During his campaign, he said that cannabis should absolutely be a states’ rights issue. For some time, much of the country thought he was going back on his word. But, his recent reiteration that it’s a states’ rights issue has put the industry somewhat at ease.
Mr. Jeff Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made his fair share of detrimental comments regarding cannabis users, saying that good people don’t smoke cannabis. Well, this isn’t true. Perhaps now he’s seeing that cannabis users aren’t lazy, aren’t unintelligent and it seems that he’s finally realizing that cannabis has medical benefits.
He has long been a staunch opponent of cannabis in every sense of the word. He’s said that there isn’t sufficient evidence, but more than 25,000 studies proving his comments wrong exist – he just refuses to read the research.
He said that, “There may very well be some benefits from medical marijuana.”
That statement was a shock. He also said it’s “perfectly appropriate to study cannabis”.
What he isn’t convinced on yet is the ability for access to cannabis to reduce opioid use and opioid-related deaths. The data exists and is clear – in states where legal medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal – opioid-related deaths are lower. When there is access to cannabis, fewer opioid-based prescriptions are filled and more people are completely stopping their painkiller use to use the all-natural alternative.
So, he’s made a very small step in a forward direction, but there’s a long way to go before he really sees the full potential of cannabis.
What do these Revelations Suggest?
One can only speculate but it appears that a massive shift in opinion regarding cannabis is gaining steam. States that no one thought would ever legalize any form of cannabis are doing so – even if it’s just a CBD program or low-THC oil program – it’s progress.
People of all ages are reporting their success and support for cannabis. The body of elders showing their support and/or use of cannabis is continually increasing. Adolescent use, once the plant becomes legal; either remains the same or decreases some.
These developments suggest that the United States very well could be on its way to finally ending prohibition – which has proven repeatedly to be a complete and utter failure.
There is hope that cannabis reform will happen. It is inevitable that prohibition will end; it’s just a matter of time. It may still take several years, but states are evolving, lawmakers are evolving and you just can’t deny science. Millions of people declaring improved health or alleviated symptoms, or in some cases complete cures, can’t be ignored. The shift in the opinions of influential lawmakers is a positive sign for the future of cannabis.