|U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia.|
Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Republican from Virginia, has introduced a bill this week in Congress that would reclassify the plant from a Schedule I controlled substance with no medical value according to the feds to a less restrictive Schedule II status. The move, he says, will allow doctors to legally prescribe cannabis as well as give protection to states around the country with medical laws in place.
Griffith says he was inspired to write the bill because of a 1979 Virginia state law allowing medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription. Since doctors can’t prescribe cannabis, the law has never gone into effect. Because of that, Virginians are having to move across the country to access medical cannabis as last-effort treatments for their sick and dying loved ones.
“Isn’t it cruel to not allow real doctors, real drug companies and real pharmacists to use marijuana for legitimate medical reasons for real patients?” Griffith said this week to the Wasington Post. “We use all sorts of opioids under the same scenario that this bill would allow us to use marijuana.”
Griffith also said that changing the scheduling would allow cannabis to be studied in clinical trials, which would give scientific backing to the overwhelming anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of medical cannabis.
Some activist group, including the Drug Policy Alliance, have criticized the idea of rescheduling cannabis and argue it should be de-scheduled. Re-scheduling would give greater control over medical cannabis to the FDA and could potentially harm existing state programs that allow patients to cultivate their own cannabis.