We’ve been hearing a lot of developments in the political sphere regarding our favorite plant. It seems that lately, certain members of the Republican party are going green and starting to get behind cannabis research. Does this mean that Republican politicians and lawmakers are starting to push for eventual legalization of marijuana? Is the GOP really getting in the cannabis corner? What’s going on?
Senator Orrin Hatch
Last week, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch ruffled feathers and caused a stir when he introduced a bill calling for more research to be conducted on medical cannabis. When he introduced the bill, aptly named the “Medical Marijuana Research Bill,” Senator Hatch used eight weed-related puns. “The federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good,” he said. “To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana.”
Well said, Senator.
Subsequently, to prevent any confusion, Hatch’s spokesman, Matt Whitlock, assured the public that the senator takes this issue very seriously and was using humor to draw attention to the matter at hand.
The G.O.P and P-O-T
Senator Orrin Hatch isn’t the only member of the Republican party who is taking a pro-weed stance. Well, a pro-medical cannabis stance, anyway.
There is a growing faction of conservative lawmakers who are becoming increasingly frustrated with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his draconian views on cannabis. Specifically, they are angry that he is actively blocking the DEA from approving numerous bids to study cannabis in a medical context.
By blocking research, Sessions is essentially suppressing scientific and medical advancement.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not just Sessions’ own party that is losing its patience. Bipartisan lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee have similar grievances. One of their goals is to set a national standard for medical marijuana quality. To do this, they have been proposing that Sessions loosen his grip just a bit and permit researchers to conduct tests on cannabis that has already been seized by authorities.
But Sessions isn’t loosening his grip at all.
Despite the plethora of research that has already been published, he will not budge on his rabidly anti-pot stance. Sessions vehemently opposes drugs of all kinds. This might have been a good thing since the United States is facing an epidemic of opioid abuse. But Sessions won’t even respect the research that suggests that cannabis can prevent and treat opioid dependency.
Final Hit: Why Republicans Are Pushing For Marijuana Research
As of now, there is no evidence to suggest that Republicans are becoming pro-weed. There is, however, a growing number of GOP members who want more research done on the plant. These conservative lawmakers specifically want to explore the medicinal potential of cannabis. There are even some who want to reschedule cannabis altogether. By removing marijuana from the Schedule I list, researchers would not need permission from the DEA to study it. This could speed up the process of research by removing the biggest roadblock medical cannabis is facing right now.