Under US Federal Law, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive level in the Controlled Substances Act, whereas extremely addictive opiates like hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl and other dangerous drugs like amphetamines and barbiturates are less restricted, as a Schedule II drugs.
There’s been a massive movement over the past five years by most US states to legalize medical marijuana (cannabidiol or CBD) and/or to decriminalize possession of small amounts of psychoactive cannabis (containing tetrahydrocannabinol or THC).
The eight states that have legalized the recreational use of psychoactive cannabis are California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts and Maine. The three states where no laws have been enacted to legalize cannabis of any kind are Idaho, South Dakota and Kansas. All other states have legalized the use of CBD.
Last Friday, Donald Trump told reporters that he will likely support legislation cointroduced by US Senator Elizabeth Warren that would allow states to set their own marijuana policies and to exempt from Federal prosecution anyone acting in compliance with their state’s marijuana laws. This legal measure would enable banks to work more freely with marijuana-related businesses, set the legal age for marijuana purchases at 21 and legalize industrial hemp.
Several attempts to alter the Federal legal status of cannabis by amending the 1970 Controlled Substances Act have failed. Last February, the case of Washington v. Sessions, which challenged the Federal Government’s scheduling of cannabis was dismissed by US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein on procedural grounds known as the “exhaustion rule.” This requires that parties petition the Government before taking their claims to Federal Court.
Notably, Hellerstein stated that his ruling “Should not be understood as a factual finding that marijuana lacks any medical use in the United States.”
ReasonTV attended the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition and caught up with the keynote speaker, former Big Pharma lobbyist and conservative congressman, Billy Tauzin (R-LA), who is also a cancer survivor.
Now working for a medical cannabis company founded by Montel Williams, Tauzin says he sees patients today availing themselves of harmless, non-psychoactive CBD to alleviate pain and other symptoms and he wishes not only that he’d had personal access to these when he was battling cancer 15 years ago. Tauzin says, “This tide has turned. We’re past the tipping point. There’s no coming back. I think [Federal legalization] is going to happen within five years.”
Also last Friday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and governors of 11 other states cosigned a letter to congressional leaders asking them to support Warren’s proposed legislation. “Our citizens have spoken, we are responding. We ask that Congress recognize and respect our states’ efforts by supporting and passing” the proposal.