With laws on the state and federal level differing regarding the use of medical marijuana, Californians are at risk if they grow, sell or even use medical marijuana. One lawmaker at the federal level is trying to change that, although he acknowledges that doing so will be a tough fight. Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith, introduced a bill in Congress at the end of April to remove the federal obstacle to prescribing and possessing medical marijuana in the states that have legalized the drug.
Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers know that many people are left facing serious criminal charges for medical marijuana despite the fact that state laws say that their behavior is legal. If a change in the federal law were to pass, this would make a big difference in allowing people to safely produce, sell and use an important medicinal tool.
Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act
Rep. Griffith, who is a Republican, introduced the bill called the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act. The bill is a simple four page proposal that involves reclassifying medical marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, Ritalin and Adderall.
Schedule I drugs are distinct from Schedule II drugs because those substances in the Schedule I category have “no currently accepted medical use.” It is very plain to see that marijuana does not belong in this category as it has been identified as having numerous medical uses and as more benefits of cannabis drugs are discovered by researchers frequently.
A move into the Schedule II category would make it possible for researchers to conduct studies more easily to identify further uses for medical marijuana. Doctors would also be able to prescribe it in states that have legalized medical marijuana without risk of running afoul of federal laws. Under the current system, even in states like Colorado where recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, doctors are not allowed to prescribe marijuana. This is because of federal laws on prescription authority. Instead, doctors must “recommend” the use of medical marijuana to patients without an official prescription.
According to the Washington Post, Rep Griffith was motivated to introduce the legislation because he has been a long-time supporter of medical marijuana and because he recently saw stories about families moving out of his home state of Virginia to seek treatment using medical marijuana in Colorado for their epileptic children. He has also known cancer patients in the past who benefitted from the secret use of medical marijuana, and he believes it is “cruel… to not allow real doctors, real drug companies and real pharmacists to use marijuana for legitimate medical reasons for patients.”
The fact is that it is cruel to deprive people of medicine that has few side effects and that could significantly alleviate symptoms of serious illnesses. If only more lawmakers at the federal level agreed with Rep Griffith and were motivated to put the needs of sick constituents first and act to pass the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana bill.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
More Blog Entries:
Marijuana DUI an Increasing Threat Amid Legalization Efforts, January 1, 2014, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog