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House Republicans Block Changes That Would Allow More Federal Marijuana Studies

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congress marijuana sanjay gupta weedLess than a week ago a bipartisan amendment was introduced in Congress that would have made it easier to conduct marijuana research. Right now marijuana research is very difficult because marijuana is a Schedule I substance according to the federal government. The bipartisan amendment would have reclassified marijuana into its own category, therefore helping remove some of the barriers to research. The amendment was even co-sponsored by long time marijuana opponent Andy Harris, which many thought would give it a much better chance of passing. But that hope was short lived, as Republicans in the House of Representatives killed the legislation. Per The Washington Post:

Medical marijuana is now sold in nearly half of all states, and even one red state has legalized it for recreational use. Veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are clamoring for access to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Loosening pot laws polls better in three swing states than any 2016 presidential candidate.

But House Republicans have so far declined to keep pace with shifting public opinion. They did so again late Wednesday, when a rare bipartisan pot proposal died a quiet death in the House that would have reclassified marijuana so that national laboratories could conduct “credible research on its safety and efficacy as a medical treatment.”

The amendment to a bill scheduled for debate Thursday on the House floor would have encouraged the National Institutes of Health and the Drug Enforcement Administration to work together to allow studies of the benefits and risks of marijuana to treat cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other conditions.

What are House Republicans afraid of? Are they afraid that if extensive research is conducted, that the truth will come out, and that the shame that is marijuana prohibition will be harmed? One of my biggest pet peeves is when politicians say that they can’t support marijuana reform because there is not enough research out there, after which they do whatever they can to prevent that research from happening. It’s the ultimate political delay tactic that marijuana opponents have been using for years. Meanwhile patients suffer, and people get arrested for a plant that has been proven to be 114 times safer than alcohol.

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