Senate majority leader Harry Reid supports medical cannabis use


Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

Medical cannabis users have a friend in a high place (though he doesn’t get high). Senate majority leader Harry Reid said yesterday that the federal government should reexamine their stance against medical marijuana.
“If you’d asked me this question a dozen years ago, it would have been easy to answer – I would have said no, because (marijuana) leads to other stuff,” the Senate majority leader told the Las Vegas Sun yesterday. “But I can’t say that anymore.”

Reid, a Mormon, says he’s never tried pot but has become open-minded to the benefits after hearing stories from medical cannabis patients from around the country. The story that made the most impression, however, was from a Nevada lawmaker Reid knew who was watching his only son die of kidney failure.
“He was so skinny and doing so poorly and somebody told him and his mom, you know, you should smoke some marijuana, because one of the side effects is … you get the munchies, you get extremely hungry,” Reid said. “He tried it and sure enough, he was able to eat for the first time, he got hungry. So I thought, you know there might be some medical reasons for taking another look at this.”
Stories like that aren’t uncommon and are growing in number, and he says it’s time lawmakers in Washington catch up with the city of Washington D.C. and 21 other states around the country that allow medical cannabis.
“I think we need to take a real close look at this,” Reid told the Sun.
Reid’s own state Nevada has allowed for medical marijuana since 2001. Legislation passed last year will allow for state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries at up to 66 locations around the state. Patients can also grow their own supply or designate a caregiver to cultivate up to seven plants at a time.
Reid says that he is only interested in medical cannabis legalization and laughed off the idea of Nevada (or the U.S. presumably) lightening up on their pot laws like Colorado and Washington. However, he admitted the current system isn’t working either.
“I guarantee you one thing,” Reid said. “We waste a lot of time and law enforcement going after these guys that are smoking marijuana.”