If elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, I will be a voice for advancing legislation that would ensure that states that wish to implement a medical cannabis program encounter no roadblocks from the federal government.
Like many Americans, I am intently observing the studies coming out of states that have already legalized medical marijuana. Statistics coming from these states include a 24.8% drop in opioid overdose fatality rates, as well as multiple studies indicating a substantial drop in opioid prescriptions in states with medical cannabis. This, among many other compelling statistics, lead me to believe that there are no substantial arguments against protecting the rights of individual states to implement programs that would provide legal access to cannabis for medical reasons.
Successful treatment of my fellow veterans suffering from PTSD is also something that I care very passionately about as a veteran that personally knows many such individuals. I am contacted--almost daily--by Hoosier veterans (and Hoosiers in general) that very much want to see medical marijuana legalized. A recent survey of over 17,000 4th District Hoosiers indicated that nearly 70% of them support the legalization of medical marijuana. I hear gut-wrenching stories from those afflicted with various diseases that had given up hope until they were introduced to CBD Oil or other products that are currently illegal in our state and many states around the country.
At a minimum, we need to consider changing marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance (a Schedule that includes drugs like heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy) to a lower classification, which will create a more promising regulatory landscape for conducting clinical trials. With its current status, potential researchers must navigate a complicated process of acquiring approval from multiple federal agencies. They then only have access to one supplier for the cannabis that can be used in their studies. The University of Mississippi--the only licensed supplier--has a limited range of options that do not match the diverse range and quality of medical cannabis products available in states with legal access. Additionally, the University of Mississippi will not supply products for commercial production (meaning that researchers would not even be able to use them as a supplier for Phase III clinical trials--the final step before FDA approval).
As this debate continues around our country--and as several states have already legalized medical cannabis--it is imperative that we have as much research as possible on the subject so that we may determine the potential positives (or any potential negatives) of this legalization. If there is one thing we can all agree on, it is that science should be our guide in evaluating the medical efficacy of cannabis and determining any potential side effects. Cannabis alone has been singled out for restrictions not even applied to other Schedule I substances. It's time to let qualified, professional researchers investigate the potential of cannabis--not federal bureaucrats.