A bill to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act Schedule 1 list passed a historical House Judiciary Committee vote (24-10) two weeks ago.
The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is arguably the biggest legislative milestone to date in regards to federal cannabis legalization.
This is fantastic news for so many people!
A few steps still have to happen for federal legalization to actually occur, but cannabis sources are saying that after the bill passes the full House of Representatives, pot could be legalized in the U.S. by 2021 (and maybe even sooner) if:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) allows the bill to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee and full Senate for a vote (a possibility if he thinks the MORE Act will improve the odds of Republicans holding on to the Senate).
- Democrats gain control of both the House and Senate chambers in 2020 (which would require picking off enough votes for Democrats to gain a majority in the Senate and a new draft of the MORE Act).
- McConnell is replaced as Senate Majority Leader with a representative more supportive of legalizing cannabis (which happens by default if the Democrats win the Senate or if McConnell voluntarily relinquishes his top spot).
Think what federal cannabis legalization would mean and how many people it would affect?!?
Federal legalization will end prohibition so everyone has equal access to cannabis, not just those with an approved disorder living in one of the 38 legal states.
Federal legalization will force an end to the institutionalized hypocrisy that has used the War on Drugs to criminalize our youth and waste our tax dollars on an ever-growing prison-industrial complex. Did you know that 655 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. are in prison, and 20 states currently report inmate overpopulation and safety risks?
Federal legalization will allow patients in prohibition states to use their medicine without fear of criminal repercussions. A patient can currently be a lawful user of cannabis in Colorado, while a state away in Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma they’re still a criminal. Patients who need cannabis daily will be able to travel across state lines, take their cannabis on a plane, or even go on vacation to Disney World.
Federal legalization will standardize cannabis as medicine across state lines and build medical knowledge so providers can competently recommend cannabis doses and products for a specific diagnosis.
Federal legalization will end the stigma behind recommending cannabis to children and adolescents. Parents will no longer have to be scared of HHS because they administered CBD or THC to their children as an alternative to psychoactive drugs.
Federal legalization will address our alarmingly high rates of mental illness and suicide among young people in the US. The CDC reports that depression and anxiety in children 6-17 years old has increased from 5.4% in 2003, to 8% in 2007, to 8.4% in 2012. Most notably, however, is the WHO reporting that the U.S. suicide rate increased 24% from 1999 to 2014 (10.5 to 13 suicides per 100,000 people).
Federal legalization will urge lawmakers to work for FDA approval of cannabis so clinicians can prescribe and provide cannabis to patients in hospitals without fear of being in violation, losing federal funding, or facing legal and criminal crimes. It would also open the floodgates for high-quality cannabis research (for medicine integrity) and alternative patient care considerations.
Federal legalization will allow medical schools leaning on federal funding to teach about cannabis. Only 9% of medical schools in the U.S. currently include cannabinoid science in their curriculum.
Federal legalization will mean that cannabis users with PTSD wouldn’t have to look over their shoulder anymore. The fact that the VA could recommend and prescribe cannabis to veterans would change the entire standard of care for all patients with PTSD!
Federal legalization will push HUD to implement state statues that prevent discrimination of residents in all contexts, including cannabis use. Many low-income, minority, and disabled populations currently reside in federally subsidized housing that strictly restrict medical cannabis use despite concurrent state laws that allow use on privately owned properties.
Federal legalization will ease job discrimination both with the expungement of cannabis crimes from records and fewer employers drug testing for cannabis. Nevada was the first state in 2019 to ban employers from denying jobs to applicants based on failed pot tests! Even companies in illegal states like Wisconsin are questioning drug testing for cannabis because it’s seen as a hurdle in the hiring process (and because so many neighboring states are now legal)!
Federal legalization will allow gun owners, too, to possess and use cannabis.
Federal legalization will happen if the 91% of Americans who want legalization vote for pro-cannabis candidates in 2020!
With Love and Light, Dr. B