A very important Congressional panel got rid of three medical marijuana bills this week. On Tuesday, the United States House Rules Committee looked at a proposal to make a federal task force to look into the best methods of dealing with pain and pain medications. While they were doing that, they also got rid of an amendment to study medical cannabis.
The first amendment would have given a framework for the task force. The task force is composed of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Food and Drug Administration, along with some other emergencies. They were all going to collectively test the “potential for marijuana to serve as an alternative to opioids for pain management.” Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) supported the amendment.
The second amendment was also supported by Polis. It would have called for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so that they may look at the “medical application of marijuana and opioids for pain management.” This includes comparative dependence and how well it works of course. The bill would have also forced a look at a comparison of overdose deaths from states that have legalized marijuana and states that have not.
“Medical marijuana is a possible and likely way to reduce opioid prescription painkiller abuse for chronic pain,” Polis said. “And unfortunately, it’s hardly been explored due to government policy, in large part because of the federal government’s monopoly on legal cultivation and studies.”
Polis adds that even if medical marijuana is not beneficial for everyone, it is surely beneficial to a majority of people
“If it can avoid going onto narcotics like opioids which often lead to abuse, I think it can be an important part of the arsenal in dealing with this plague and epidemic of opioid abuse,” he concluded.
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