America’s Floodgates Cracking as Cannabis Acceptance Makes Strides

Despite widespread use and anecdotal evidence to support the benefits of cannabis, prohibition has continued to hinder both the funds required and access to effect legalization at a federal level. In order to remove longstanding stigmas around the so-called “gateway drug”, America needs new science-backed information to combat the years of after school specials, indoctrinated thinking and war waged against cannabis use.
Without it, the positive healing properties of cannabis will continue to be overshadowed by unwarranted and complicated legislation, which keeps it out of the hands of those who could truly need it. Citizens are sick of being subjected to a host of health grievances just because this plant has been politicized. What we’ve learned is that the only way to combat misinformation is through credible research which raises the standard set for cannabis education. 
So, where is the federallysanctioned research needed to provide this education? Around the corner, many hope. 
Exciting advancements have recently come from Washington. From passing a bill expanding cultivation licenses for research to importing medical cannabis from Canada to federally sanctioning the first compound derived from cannabis, there is no denying we are making progress.
Still, avenues for researchers to cultivate high-quality cannabis — as well as get approval to do clinical research on it — are desperately needed to fully understand the science behind the varied uses and benefits of cannabis.
When it comes to cannabis research, Israel maintains its position as the world leader — having claimed they invested just over $2 million last year operating more than 120 cannabisrelated clinical trials. They are part of a select few countries that have a government-sponsored cannabis program.
Around the globe, scientists eagerly await Canada’s legalization on October 17. Everyone academic researchers, investment firms, thinktanks and any ancillary business one could imagine — is excited about the data and research that will be yielded as a result of Canada becoming fully operational. After all, it will be the first time that long-term studies of this magnitude will have been possible
As America continues to (slowly but surely) follow suit, polls show more and more citizens are supporting marijuana reform. Bipartisan support is calling for the issue to be addressed as it has become a major talking point surrounding this year’s midterm elections. Even unlikely supporters, like Mitt Romney and the LDS church, are urging for reclassification of the current Schedule I drug to make way for better research and funding opportunities into the positive health benefits cannabis holds.  
On the surface, this may seem like a step in the right direction. While many activists are excited over the recent news, others still question if it’s more research” that’s truly needed for Congress to change the current Schedule I status. The reality is that science has long-ago proven the positive effects of cannabis; however, US government policy and laws are still miles behind. 
“While the bill’s [Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018] consideration represents progress, it’s a drop in the ocean given what we need to do to end federal prohibition and repair the harms of the drug war,” Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance said, adding that the restrictive provisions are “egregious, unnecessary and representative of an outdated approach to public policy”.
“While this vote marks a step forward, it must also be acknowledged that despite existing barriers to research, ample studies already exist to contradict cannabis’ federal, Schedule I status as a substance without medical utility, lacking acceptable safety and possessing a high potential of abuse,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a press release. “More clinical research is welcome, but unfortunately science has never driven marijuana policy. If it did, the United States would already have a very different policy in place.” 
In light of these recent events, it is clear that education proves to be the most effective way to tear down an archaic and biased school of thought and apparently, lawmakers are getting onboard.

“While there are many varying opinions on the issue of marijuana, one thing we all can agree on is that we need qualified researchers to study the science to determine if there are any potential medicinal benefits to chemicals derived from cannabis,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said.
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), chief sponsor of the Medical Cannabis Research Act added, “I am glad that the Judiciary Committee has reported the Medical Cannabis Research Act favorably, sending it to the House for a vote. For too long, Congress has faced a dilemma with cannabis-related legislation: we cannot reform cannabis law without researching its safety, its efficacy and its medical uses — but we cannot perform this critical research without first reforming cannabis law. The Medical Cannabis Research Act helps break that logjam, allowing researchers to study medical cannabis without fear of legal jeopardy. This vote will help unlock American innovation and discovery, and help researchers bring the cures of the future a little closer to reality.”
Our only path is to continue advocating for more research on the positive effects of cannabis, and that those scientific findings will make way to reform and rescheduling.  

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