With the political landscape of the United States as rocky as ever, there is a cloud of confusion around marijuana and how it will be dealt with under the new administration. Although medical marijuana is becoming legal at a rapid pace at the lower levels of the U.S. government, it is still a schedule one drug under DEA classification. According to the DEA, marijuana has no medicinal value, so it is treated the same as drugs like Heroin and Bath Salts. Four members of the House of Representatives are currently fighting to change the opinion of the federal government.
Representatives in the Cannabis Caucus
To find a way to better harmonize the current laws of both the federal government and state governments, a bipartisan coalition has been formed. Republican representatives Dana Rohrabacher and Don Young and Democratic representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis have recently formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. Some of the goals of the caucus are to increase funding for medical research of marijuana and change regulations on taxation and banking for those involved in the medical marijuana industry.
While the caucus has many goals, its broader goal is to get the federal government out of states where medical marijuana is legal. Eventually the founding members of the caucus hope they can lead the charge towards federal decriminalization, but that remains a distant goal.
Uncertainty Around Marijuana Legislation
With the appointment of Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General, the Trump administration showed their hand as to how they will view marijuana legislation. While President Trump himself has stated that marijuana will be left to the states, Sessions has said before that “anyone who smokes marijuana is not a good person.”
Providing some peace of mind to medical marijuana patients frightened by past statements of the United States newest Attorney General, Rep. Rohrabacher stated, “There are some areas that we need to focus on and make sure the Trump administration doesn’t go wholeheartedly in the wrong direction.”
Confusion and Hope
New administrations often bring a hazy view of the future because they rarely provide full policy stances until they have spent more time in control. The Trump administration has been no different on a litany of issues, especially medical marijuana. While still very new and very small, the caucus and its goals should enlighten patients, even in a time when there is still a great amount of uncertainty regarding the state of medical marijuana legislation.
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Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.