Mormon GOP Senator Pushes Medical Marijuana

Mormon GOP Senator Pushes Medical Marijuana

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A conservative Republican U.S. senator plans to speak about the "possible benefits of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids" on the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images Sen. Orrin Hatch, who has represented Utah in Congress since 1977, has historically not been a champion of marijuana law reform, and continues to oppose full recreational legalization. But according to prepared remarks distributed by his office, he plans to say in a speech that "in our zeal to enforce the law, we too often blind ourselves to the medicinal benefits of natural substances like cannabis." "While I certainly do not support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, the evidence shows that cannabis possesses medicinal properties that can truly change people’s lives for the better," the senator will say. "And I believe, Mr. President, that we would be remiss if we threw out the baby with the bathwater." Also in the draft remarks , Hatch spotlights impediments to research that exist because of marijuana’s current status under federal law. "We lack the science to support use of medical marijuana products like CBD oils not because researchers are unwilling to do the work, but because of bureaucratic red tape and over-regulation," he will say. "Under current law, those who want to complete research on the benefits of medical marijuana must engage in a complex application process and interact with several federal agencies. These regulatory acrobatics can take researchers over a year, if not more, to complete. And the longer researchers have to wait, the longer patients have to suffer." Cannabis is currently classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. That’s the most restrictive category, and is supposed to be reserved for drugs with no medical value and a high potential for abuse. Researchers have long […]

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