Marijuana distribution and cultivation is regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, which makes cannabis difficult to research and obtain, even in states that legalized the weed. Research is hindered to a significant extent despite recent changes in legislation. However, the situation can change soon, as new amendments to the Act that are now being considered can become a breakthrough, which will enable states to choose for themselves what kind of policy on marijuana use they want to adopt.
The amendment has the name of “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States Act” and is aimed at making it easier to legalize cultivation, use and distribution of marijuana in states that want it to be available to the public.
President Trump’s attitude towards marijuana legalization has recently made headlines, as he said he would support legislation protecting activities related to marijuana. By expressing his wish to back the amendment, he made it clear that changes are likely to follow, and if the bill is supported, cannabis will be easier to obtain, be it recreational or medical marijuana.
While it’s not the first time Trump expressed his support of cannabis legalization, the administration in general is not that uniform in their opinions. As part of his campaign, Trump said he was in favor of medical marijuana, but Jeff Sessions, who is President’s Attorney General, does not share this view on the issue. The law that kept companies involved in marijuana production, research and cultivation protected against persecution, provided they abode by state cannabis laws, was rescinded by Sessions, and he is still against cannabis legalization.
STATES for states
The bill, which is abbreviated as STATES, can become a page-turner for everyone who can’t wait to see headlines announcing exclusion of marijuana from the list of prohibited substances. According to the industry experts, it can be a major step towards flexible legislation, and here the word “flexible” renders who has the right to dictate whether a cannabis program should be established.
If the bill is passed, it will bring a lot of changes. First, it will enable the industry to use banking and make financial operations digital. Second, it will set the minimum age for industry employees (18). Third, it will leave it to the states to decide what policy to implement.
It will also introduce such restrictions as prohibition of selling or distributing cannabis to those under 21 (in cases when marijuana is required for medical purposes, it can be sold even to younger patients). Besides, distribution of marijuana will be prohibited in facilities related to transportation, such as gas stations, truck stops, etc. Another expected change is that hemp will no longer be considered marijuana, which sounds quite reasonable, as there is almost no THC (the chemical responsible for the notorious getting-high effect). Hemp is found in paper, textiles and some other materials, so changing its status is supposed to facilitate goods production.
Not so fast
Despite the fact that the bill is under consideration, there is still quite a long time to wait till it is accepted (if accepted at all, though it seems like the chances of it being approved are high).
In the meantime, more Americans are speaking in favor of cannabis legalization, and the move is probably fueled by ongoing research aimed at finding out what medical uses cannabis and its derivatives could have. It has already been reported that THC and other chemicals found in marijuana can help reduce pain and treat some diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases. Perhaps, that is why the bill is to get to the floor – the demand for medical marijuana is very high.