Prohibitionists Block Marijuana Studies and CBD for Kids

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A key Congressional panel defeated a trio of medical marijuana measures this week.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House Rules Committee took up a bill to create a federal task force to investigate best practices in pain management and prescribing pain medication, killing two amendments to study medical marijuana in the process.

The first amendment would have directed the task force, which will include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Food and Drug Administration, among other agencies, to study the “potential for marijuana to serve as an alternative to opioids for pain management.” The measure was sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

A second amendment from Polis would have required the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the “medical application of marijuana and opioids for pain management,” including their relative addictiveness and efficacy. The measure would have also required a federal comparison of overdose deaths between states that have legalized medical cannabis and those that haven’t.

Speaking before the Rules Committee, Polis cited private studies indicating that states with medical marijuana laws see significantly reduced opioid overdose deaths and that patients who use cannabis consume fewer opiates.

“Medical marijuana is a possible and likely way to reduce opioid prescription painkiller abuse for chronic pain,” he said. “And unfortunately it’s hardly been explored due to government policy, in large part because of the federal government’s monopoly on legal cultivation and studies.”

Polis said that even if medical marijuana doesn’t work for all patients, it does help a significant number of people.

“If it can avoid going onto narcotics like opioids which often lead to abuse, I think it can be an important part of the arsenal in dealing with this plague and epidemic of opioid abuse,” he said.

A third proposed amendment to a separate opioid addiction and recovery bill, sponsored by Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Bob Dold (R-IL), along with Polis, would have excluded cannabis plants and extracts that are rich in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the from the federal definition of marijuana. A growing number of states — including otherwise very conservative ones — have passed laws in recent years allowing patients to use CBD medicinally, most prominently children who suffer from severe seizure disorders.

The committee ruled that all three amendments were out of order, meaning that they could not be offered for a vote on the House floor.

Although legalization opponents typically speak in favor of letting science determine policy and have strained to show sympathy to children who need CBD medications, one leading prohibition advocate actually publicly cheered the defeat of the three amendments.

“We just defeated 3 more pro pot bills in Rules in the House yesterday,” tweeted Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, the U.S.’s leading anti-legalization organization. “Pot & profiteers having a bad week.”

The overall bills, without the marijuana amendments, were both later passed by overwhelming bipartisan votes on the House floor.

Photo Courtesy of Thomas Morris.

About Author

Tom Angell covers policy and politics for Marijuana.com. Separately, he serves as chairman of the nonprofit organization Marijuana Majority, which works to ensure that elected officials and the media treat legalization as a serious, mainstream issue. Marijuana Majority led the effort to get the U.S. Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution telling the federal government to respect state marijuana laws, and orchestrated the first-ever endorsement for marijuana legalization by a U.S. Supreme Court justice (John Paul Stevens). Previously, Tom worked for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (All organizations are listed for identification purposes only.)

16 Comments

  1. You need a web designer who understands typography. This is near unreadable. If you’re actually paying someone, they’re screwing you.

  2. Patricia Silverman on

    kevin sabet is being paid for by Mel Sembler et al he is a paid shill and has no clue about real scienc

  3. It is good to stand with the growing majority. Marijuana Prohibition is compete and utter failure and fraud at every single branch and level of our Government.

    Prohibitionist who seek to thwart the majority in will be soon set to pasture. The failed stewardship of marijuana prohibition profiteering is crashing down. It’s soon to be over. Science is coming to bare on shame of marijuana war.

  4. I need the real thing for my epilepsy. I have a tumor in my left temporal lobe that is inoperable. Headaches and seizures are constant. I live on ssd and my wife is retired. We can’t afford much.

  5. ericthemadman on

    Ladies & Gentlemen it is time for us to boot these folks out of office!! I see a bright future ahead…

  6. John Bradley on

    The U.S. Government are crooks, evil to do this. It’s easier to keep illegal than to see children have seizures. These Congressional leaders make me sick to my stomach. Rosenberg of DEA is just evil.

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