Republican representative, Tom Garrett proposed legislation on Monday that could be considered groundbreaking. The title, “The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017,” pretty much says it all.
If passed, marijuana would be removed from the federal controlled substance list. Both Garrett and Tulsi Gabbard presented the legislation to Congress. According to the bill, marijuana would become excluded from the CSA, or Controlled Substances Act. Furthermore, the inaccurate position which cannabis holds on that list as a schedule 1 substance- which insinuates that marijuana has no medicinal value, would also be removed.
According to Garrett,
“I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn’t justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce. Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”
Continuing, he said that, “this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue.”
The bill was not originally proposed by Garrett and Gabbard, however, Instead, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the bill in 2015, but nothing was done to push the bill forward.
And this newest legislation arrives exactly on time, as the new U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to tighten restrictions on marijuana. According to him, cannabis is actually a potent and violence inducing substance. He continues to review the previous administration’s memo that provided the states with flexibility regarding marijuana laws.
Eight states, including Washington D.C have legalized recreational marijuana use. However, since marijuana became known as an “illicit” drug, marijuana arrests take up a massive 40% of annual drug arrests, including over 700,000 arrested during 2014 due to pot-related offenses. The majority of those charges were merely possession.
Despite Jeff Session’s opinion on the matter, Donald Trump spoke on various occasions regarding cannabis legislation during his campaign, ultimately emphasizing the need for a more hands-off approach.
While speaking in front of the National Association of Attorney Generals, Sessions refuted scientific research that has proven that the legalization of marijuana would actually help in the fight against the opioid epidemic. “Give me a break,” he responded, and then implored that, “We don’t need to be legalizing marijuana.”
Spicer, the White House Spokesperson notorious for citing fabricated terror attacks also weighed in on the issue, “I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people (by regulating the adult use of marijuana).”
However, science proves him wrong. A widely publicized study in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine reported that in states that had enacted marijuana legalization laws found a massive reduction in opioid overdose deaths. “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.”
And while Sessions may push his propaganda under the guise of safety, he doesn’t seem to be worried about the government approved opioid replacement therapies. And what’s worse is that marijuana has no associated overdose deaths while on Suboxone.
One user of Suboxone, Miles Malone, aged 20, received one text message the day of his death that said, “we can do the suboxone as soon as I give them to u, iight, dude?” He was later found dead in his South Berwick, ME home. The death was ruled as a buprenorphine poisoning.
His friend, Shawn Verrill was then imprisoned for 71 months. “I didn’t know you could overdose on Suboxone,” Mr. Verrill said in an interview at a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y. “We were just a bunch of friends getting high and hanging out, doing what 20-year-olds do. Then we went to sleep, and Miles never woke up.”
Suboxone has taken the drug world by storm, surpassing Viagra and Adderal. It’s obvious success was fueled by the opioid abuse epidemic that began almost five years ago. During it’s introduction to the population it has been promoted as a safer alternative to methadone. Sadly, the new medication has become the new dope and medication that has been making rounds on the streets since it began sales.
But, because of the money trail that follows in its wake, doctors, manufacturers, dealers and patients, there hasn’t been much controversy surrounding the substance.
A private-public between a British company and the American government was responsible for financing clinical trials, and the drugs protection from competition. The company, Reckitt Benckiser has hired a handful of federal officials and financially supported scientists and doctors that study it and support the drug.
While it claims to be a long-term treatment for addicts, it also has the ability to induce a euphoric sensation that promotes addiction. And unlike its predecessor methadone, it can be prescribed to recipients.
Due to its stature as the miracle cure for opioid dependancy, the CDC does not track the deaths associated with its use. Furthermore, medical practitioners and government testing agencies typically do not conduct tests for the substance, either.
Unfortunately, this only proves that the government’s prohibition against any substance is determined the profit margin produced by it. It’s also worth mentioning that due to marijuana’s success at thwarting opioid dependancy that it could pose a threat to the Suboxone industry. Of course, marijuana would do so with very few negative side effects, and also provide further medicinal benefits to the user. Until we as consumers, and citizens become informed and voice our opinions loud and clear, we will remain the victims of the flawed system in which we are a part of.
Check out this very logical video created by Reason.tv, which explains why marijuana should be legal.