Congress Gives Medical Marijuana the Greenlight
While 32 states and Washington DC have now officially sanctioned a medical marijuana program, the Federal government has been reluctant to give any ground to the cause. That all changed this month when the President signed the 1,603-page Federal Spending Measure. The robust bill details how the
US government will spend its money in coming years and amends a few laws, one of which is the use of Federal forces to police the pot industry.
With the signing of this bill, federal drug agents will be prohibited from raiding retail medical marijuana shops and dispensaries. The Obama Administration has been keeping to this policy over the last year but it now stands codified as law.
Needless to say, this is a huge step forward in the changing of drug policy at the federal level and we’re finally seeing the left and the right come together on something. Liberals have been pushing for legalization for years but Conservatives have been reluctant to roll back the strict anti-drug laws that lump all illegal drugs into the same “dangerous” category where marijuana is considered more dangerous than highly addictive drugs like cocaine. Spurred largely by the public outcry, conservatives are viewing this as a states’ rights issue, advocating to allow each state to determine its local marijuana laws the same way it handles alcohol.
Not only will this progressive roll-back of draconian drug laws give a breath of fresh air to the discussion of illegal substances and their use in legitimate medical and scientific research, it opens the door for a clearer understanding of the different drugs in the public consciousness. Teaching children that a medicinal plant like marijuana or a psychological experience like psilocybin mushrooms are as dangerous, deadly, and addictive as hard narcotics is just misleading and only serves to spread ignorance that leads to poor decision-making.
Perhaps the relaxing of tensions at the federal level will open a larger dialogue about the substances we deem worthy of control, and perhaps lead us to take a closer look at the drugs being legally mass marketed by powerful pharmaceutical companies.