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Thursday, February 28, 2013

States' Medical Marijuana Patients Protection Act

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington has shadowed the medical marijuana movement. Despite being placed on the back burner, medical marijuana has not been forgotten by a number of officials. 13 bipartisan House members have put forward a federal bill, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patients Protection Act, that if passed, would allow medical marijuana patients and businesses that are in compliance with state law to access and distribute marijuana without interference from the federal government, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

The new bill is meant to address the gap between states that have legalized the drug for medical use, and the federal Controlled Substances Act, outlawing marijuana use. This would alter the Controlled Substances Act, freeing individuals, physicians, and businesses from restrictions prohibiting “consuming, recommending, producing, distributing or otherwise operating in marijuana in compliance with state laws.” Thus, the federal government would recognize that marijuana is a drug with accepted medical use.

“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,” according to a statement by bill co-sponsor Earl Blumenauer of Oregon.

While marijuana may have addictive properties as well as the ability to harm one's lungs and memory, it has been shown to have medicinal properties that can help those with severe pain. If we are fair, there is hardly a legal prescription pain medication that does not have negative side effects in one way or another. The States’ Medical Marijuana Patients Protection Act may very well end up saving the nation billions of dollars every year as well as allow officials to focus more on drugs that are much more harmful to health and society.
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