Medical Marijuana Needs Federal Approval

Medical Marijuana Needs Federal Approval

AP Photo/Don Ryan

With 23 states already having programs for medical marijuana in place, more considering reform legislation all the time, and a growing majority of support from citizens nationwide, "LEGALIZATION" is no longer a war cry from the politically oppressed. While slower going than any of us hope, the tide has certainly changed for an undeniable course in our favor. Though, that is a bit perplexing, given the fact that while President Obama has been known for years to downplay the notion of it being dangerous, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug — "the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence."

Sure, it is silly that marijuana and heroin are classified the same, a victim of a bygone era in which Nixon started this misdirected Drug War. Even recreational marijuana is legal in four states in addition to our nation's capitol which has, technically, decriminalized its use as well. So states can circumnavigate federal legislation and manage themselves, giving Congress a big FU while chilling in a blissed-out haze. Sweet, right?

Not necessarily. While Congress is wont for gridlock and generally fucked, they still swing a big hammer, controlling the distribution of a massive amount of funds that hang programs like Planned Parenthood in the balance when they decide to take a day off — which, as it turns out, is pretty much whenever the hell they please. Another detriment to Congress' inaction or inability to pass popular legislation is funding for research — important federal grants for which medical marijuana is not a candidate.

This inaction often results in a Catch 22 when discussing reform with its opposition. Those against legalization will often deflect when asked "But WHY?!" and cite the need for more research. But without legalization, there is no access to those necessary federal funds. Thankfully, The Brookings Institute — ranked as the top think tank in the world and non-profit for research and education — has just published a massive report on "Ending the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana research."

In just its first page, you can find gems like this: "The elderly, veterans, children, and people from every demographic group in the nation claim that the use of cannabis assists in the treatment of their medical conditions... However, the U.S. government has held back the medical community’s ability to conduct the type of research that the scientific community considers the experimental gold standard in guiding medical practice." 

Medical marijuana is, indeed, medicine. It is about time that it was treated that way.