The recent surge in marijuana legislation across the country has continued as members of congress put forward legislation as a means to clear up federal pot policy and pave the way for future, country-wide medical marijuana legalization by individual states.
According to Politico, Oregon’s Earl Blumenauer (D) is heading up the bill, known as the State’s Medical Marijuana Patient’s Protection Act, which seeks to block federal intervention in the 19 states where medical marijuana is already legal. The bill also loosens up the restraints for the remaining 31 states to pave their own way. Perhaps not by coincidence, Oregon neighbors the state of Washington, which legalized recreational pot use through last year’s elections. Introduced on Monday, the new Oregon-based bill is only concerned with medical use, however.
Thirteen members of the house make up a bipartisan collection of support for the bill.
“Frankly, the people in the federal hierarchy are in an impossible position”, Blumenauer told reporters at a press conference on Monday, regarding the confusion over the federal government’s stance on medical marijuana.
A collection of states are currently pursuing various means of lightening local governmental restrictions on use of the drug, medical and recreational. Both Oregon and California are actively pursuing legalized recreational use. Other states are taking a slower, perhaps more consistent route.
Maryland, for instance, is experiencing a slow crawl towards eventual legalization, compromising full legalization with lesser punishments on possession and medical use met with veto threats from Gov. Martin O’Malley. Though no law currently exists to explicitly legalize marijuana in either incidence, legal precedence and statutory punishment reduction have made clear the eventual outcome –- whether or not it happens through legislative action or some other avenue.
Further, New Hampshire, which could not find enough votes to overcome its former Governor’s veto in 2012, has a chance to legalize medical marijuana with a new governor in favor of the action.
Medical marijuana is considered as a treatment by many medical organizations for a variety of disorders and diseases, mostly to reduce pain and other unwanted side effects. According to The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), patients ailing from arthritis, cancer and chemotherapy, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and nausea are all potential beneficiaries from the use of marijuana. The website assists in locating clinics and dispensaries around the country for those living in states of medical marijuana legalization or otherwise.
“Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with nearly 17 million Americans age 12 and older reporting past-month use,” according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Efforts to suspend the countrywide habit have largely failed through the United States’ highly publicized and costly “War on Drugs.”