August 10, 2016
In early June, Ohio joined a list of 24 states (plus Washington DC) that allow the use of medical marijuana. As the Washington Post reported, John Kasich signed the bill into law as a compromise with medical marijuana advocates to limit more inclusive measures for marijuana use. The law includes the limitations of plant growth, smoking and a limited list of medical conditions for which medical professionals can prescribe the drug. Ohioans must qualify for use, and the drug can only be ingested orally or by a vaporizer. The limitations leave advocates wanting more while opponents recognize that they gave considerable ground. Overall, the state moved toward greater acceptance of medical marijuana.
This legislation gives access to close to half of Americans to medical marijuana if they have a qualifying medical condition. However, this raises interesting questions for the federal government, especially for the DEA. If half of the states have legalized usage for medical purposes, the federal government might consider a similar move. Modern science has shown that marijuana is one of the least mind-altering and least addictive drugs, which highlights archaic laws and regulations that might need changing. As of June 2016, marijuana and heroin are both considered schedule one narcotics based on outdated 70s research. Updated research and American experience suggest that change could serve the country well.
The DEA might recalculate its position on the legalization of marijuana for the following reasons:
- The drug is less dangerous than research once determined,
- The drug has many health benefits for those suffering from pain and other infirmities, and
- More Americans than ever accept its usage.
The DEA is reviewing a petition to change marijuana’s schedule one label and should make a decision in July 2016. The DEA’s position as of June 2016 on medical marijuana does not recognize any valid reasons for medical use even with supervision and cites a high possibility of abuse. However, those in top positions of authority, including the DEA administrator, do not support the legalization of the drug. In the meantime, the American people wait on federal changes resulting from state legislation and the petition under review.
Legislation regarding marijuana has changed in half of the states in the country. However, federal laws have not kept pace with state laws. If you have questions about medical marijuana use, call our office for help.