February 26, 2013
Medical Marijuana Proposal Seeks Legalization Under Federal Law
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Ground work has been laid to open up legislature to try and get medical marijuana legalized under federal laws.
Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer introduced legislation on Monday that boasts more than 150 advocates from around the country, attempting to allow more states to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes and get federal law on their side.
There are currently 19 states where medical marijuana is legal but a gray area within federal laws makes the subject a little dicey. Although Colorado and Washington voted to legalize pot in last year's elections, federal law still says it's illegal, making recreational and medical marijuana a convoluted subject in terms of what really is legal.
"Nineteen jurisdictions have passed laws recognizing the importance of providing access to medical marijuana for the hundreds of thousands of patients who rely on it. It is time for the federal government to respect these decisions, and stop inhibiting safe access," he wrote in his legislation.
Blumenauer pitched his legislation during a press conference outside the Capitol as a solution to the confusing laws regarding marijuana use in the US. His law not only provides a better black-and-white scenario rather than the gray area the government works with now, but also would see to it the government benefits from a tax on the drug.
"These inconsistencies create significant challenges for both patients and the businesses working to provide access to medical marijuana. Because of federal tax and banking laws, marijuana businesses--despite operating in compliance with state or local law--are not allowed to deduct their legitimate business expenses and are often unable to make deposits or maintain bank accounts," the congressman wrote in his legislation.
"Simultaneously, the federal government has continued to enforce federal law, and many medical marijuana facilities across the country have been raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] or otherwise targeted by the Department of Justice [DOJ]," he added.
He pointed out many researchers are having a difficult time obtaining marijuana for studies into the potential therapeutic or medicinal effects of the drug.
"The States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act would provide for the rescheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substance Act to a listing other than Schedule I or II, which would mean the federal government recognizes an accepted medical use," Blumenauer wrote.
The congressman added his legislation would ensure that neither the Controlled Substances Act nor the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act would restrict individuals, doctors or businesses from consuming, recommending, producing, distributing or operating in marijuana in compliance with state laws.
"Finally, it would require that access to marijuana for research into its potential medicinal and therapeutic uses be overseen by an entity in the government not focused on researching the addictive properties of substances," he said.