Congress Shuts Down Marijuana Research
Written by: Patrick Thompson
Congress quickly shut down an amendment that would have allowed federal research on medical marijuana. The pending research policy was shut down by the House Judiciary Committee which is led by republican Robert Goodlatte from Virginia.
Not much has changed regarding research since the amendment was shut down. The legislation would have only allowed the National Institutes of Health to conduct research under the supervision of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The new policy would have rescheduled marijuana from a schedule 1 drug to a schedule IR drug; The R stands for “Research”. However if the policy passed, the regulations were to be written by the DEA. What’s even more unsettling is the fact that Republican Andy Harris sponsored the legislation because he believed the research would prove that marijuana does not have any medicinal benefit and that the substance is not safe for consumption.
But those are not the last of Mr. Harris’s capers. Earlier in the year Harris created a piece of legislation intended to thwart the District of Columbia from legalizing recreational marijuana. Harris disregarded the fact that 65% of voters voted in favor of legalization and that the constituents were not even his own.
Two democrats and two republicans sponsored the bi-partisan legislation for research, the parties were hopeful that the bill would pass and that the medical benefits of marijuana would be proven through strenuous clinical research. However their hopes never materialized once Congress shot down the amendment.
The medical and recreational cannabis communities welcome cannabis research with open arms, but Clinical studies ran by the NIH shadowed by the DEA would not have been favorable. They would have taken years to get started, its likely that they would not have used humans as test subjects, and that low quality cannabis would have been used in experiments resulting in unrealistically low test results which would show that medical cannabis was ineffective.
Despite Congress’s unwillingness to reschedule marijuana so that legislation would permit research, the pro-marijuana community is doing their best to advance the status of cannabis. Currently, 23 states have a medical marijuana program while four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. But with the way things are looking, full legalization seems to be in the distant future for the United States.