Medical Marijuana Makes Strides For Legalization At Federal Level
While it‚Äôs currently legal at the state level (in some states), the Feds still reserve the right to investigate and imprison anyone in possession of marijuana, medical or otherwise. Political efforts are seeking to change that.
Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer puts forward his legislation allowing states to legalize medical marijuana in an effort to end the confusion surrounding federal pot policy, as reported by Politico.com
‚ÄúBlumenauer‚Äôs legislation, which has 13 co-sponsors ‚ÄĒ including GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California ‚ÄĒ would create a framework for the FDA to eventually legalize medicinal marijuana. It would also block the feds from interfering in any of the 19 states where medical marijuana is legal.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúFrankly, the people in the federal hierarchy are in an impossible position,‚ÄĚ Blumenauer said, adding: ‚ÄúIt gets the federal government and the Department of Justice out of this never-never land.‚ÄĚ
Without defending the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Justice Department, he didn‚Äôt quite bash them either. It‚Äôs sort of a catch 22 for federal agencies, and President Barack Obama even endorsed that exact sentiment. It doesn‚Äôt make sense for the DEA or any other federal agencies to go after marijuana users, whether recreational or medical, in states that have already made it legal; they‚Äôve got bigger fish to fry, so to speak.
‚ÄúOn the heels of successful referendums legalizing marijuana in both Colorado and Washington state, Blumenauer and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition and set up a scheme to tax the drug.‚ÄĚ
Many of the activists surrounding Blumenauer are veterans.
I‚Äôve got several friends who are veterans, and a handful that saw combat and may (or may not) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (they‚Äôve yet to admit to an issue and seek diagnosis). While marijuana may not be the right answer for everyone, I think it‚Äôs worth a shot for those men and women who so bravely sacrificed so I could comfortably sit in a Starbucks while enjoying a cup of coffee and writing blogs like these.
‚ÄúScott Murphy, an Iraq War vet, said medical marijuana could help returning soldiers handle post-traumatic stress disorder or physical injuries. Murphy noted 22 veterans killed themselves each day in 2012.‚ÄĚ
He added ‚ÄúIf medical marijuana could help just one veteran, it would be worthwhile,‚ÄĚ
The issue with the current legislation on medical marijuana is this: in the states that have legalized it, it‚Äôs only legal under those state‚Äôs laws; the feds still agree that it‚Äôs a no-no hands-down.
That means that anyone growing, selling, or using marijuana for medical or recreational purposes is breaking the law and is subject to punishment by federal law.
That gray area is exactly what Blumenauer aims to eliminate with the new legislation.
If legalization could be made possible on the federal level, taxation, testing, and other formal practices could be applied through the Food and Drug Administration benefiting all involved.
‚ÄúBlumenauer‚Äôs bill isn‚Äôt likely to pass, but Americans for Safe Access Policy Director Mike Liszewski said bills in four states ‚ÄĒ New Hampshire, Illinois, New York and Maryland ‚ÄĒ have a chance of becoming law this year. In New Hampshire, where backers fell just a few votes short of overriding a governor‚Äôs veto last year, advocates are ‚Äúreally confident.‚ÄĚ
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