The most amazing political story in marijuana this year is the rapid acceptance of political and cultural conservatives to accept the medical utility of cannabis… as long as it doesn’t get you high. These so-called CBD-Only bills in just the past six months have passed in eleven states, mostly in the religiously-conservative areas of the country like the South and Utah.
Now, a conservative Republican from Pennsylvania, Rep. Scott Perry, has introduced the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014,” named after the Charlotte’s Web strain of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis grown by the Realm of Caring in Colorado. The bill, however, will recognize at the federal level the medical use of any strain of cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC by removing such cannabis from the federal Schedule I designation.
Introduction of this bill not only represents the first opportunity for the feds to recognize some form of medical marijuana, it also marks a change in framing by supporters of the CBD-Only legislation. Parents and legislators lobbying for cannabidiol used to strongly protest that they weren’t legalizing medical marijuana and that the CBD oil wouldn’t get anyone high. Now, by calling the bill a “Medical Hemp Act” and describing low-THC cannabis to the media as “therapeutic hemp,” it seems as though there is a concerted effort to completely divorce THC-marijuana from the medical consideration.
“This isn’t medical marijuana,” they will tell us, “it is therapeutic hemp that doesn’t get you high.” It’s a backhanded way to diminish the medical utility of regular cannabis with THC by relegating it to the realm of people seeking a “high.”
Remember when medical marijuana was about adults suffering with cancer, AIDS, and chronic pain and the politicians opposed to it would say, “There is no evidence for marijuana” as medicine, or how we’d “hear anecdotal stories” or how tales of miracle cures from marijuana were “myths”? When it was regular old THC-laden marijuana, they couldn’t stop telling us we were emotionally tugging on heartstrings to pass medical marijuana laws. When it was the medicine with THC in it, we needed more studies and we were practicing medicine at the ballot box instead of relying on the tried-and-true FDA approval process?
Today, the only politician sounding those alarms about CBD-only legislation being anecdotes over evidence is Louisiana Rep. John Fleming. He’s all but ignored by politicians who are tripping over each other at the state and federal level to approve “therapeutic hemp” for seizures, despite the lack of scientific evidence. They can’t move fast enough for the anecdotal stories of miracle cures for those epileptic kids tugging on heartstrings in the Capitol. No need to wait for the FDA approval process and a bunch of studies in our rush to practice medicine at the ballot box for “medical hemp.”
Because it doesn’t get you high.
These last six months of CBD-only legislation passing near unanimously in eleven states clearly illustrate that the battle over medical marijuana was never about medicine, science, studies, and evidence. It’s always been all about oppressing our right to alter consciousness.
"Radical" Russ Belville is the host of The Russ Belville Show.
Photo from functionalblends.com.