Growing Bipartisan Support For Medical Marijuana Research In U.S. Senate

Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican released the following statement today on a new bill to promote medical marijuana research:

Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) joined Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) to introduce the Marijuana Effective Drug Studies (MEDS) Act of 2017, bipartisan legislation that would make it easier for researchers to study the medical effectiveness and safety of marijuana.

“When it comes to our nation’s efforts to cure diseases and improve the quality of life for people suffering from ailments, burdensome government regulations shouldn’t be an impediment to legitimate and responsible medical research,” said Senator Tillis. “The MEDS Act is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to remove unnecessary barriers that will give scientists the ability to study the biochemical processes, impact, dosing, risks and possible benefits of cannabidiol and other components of the marijuana plant.”

There is a lack of research evaluating the benefits and risks of the therapeutic compounds extracted from the marijuana plant as a possible medication, in large part because of federal barriers that block valuable scientific and clinical research. As a result, millions of Americans are using a drug for medical purposes without scientific guidance with regards to its effectiveness, safety, dosing, route of administration, or standards for quality control. The MEDS Act promotes scientific research and mitigates a significant public health risk.

Currently, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug which means that it has been ruled to have no medical benefit. Federal money is not even allowed to be used to research possible health benefits. Yet, the government owns a marijuana compounds patent for medicinal use. The patent, 6,630,507, is for a compound believed to have the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain diseases, such as cirrhosis

When Sen. Orrin Hatch introduced the bill he stated the goal was to find “possible benefits of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids.”

Hatch continued, “in our zeal to enforce the law, we too often blind ourselves to the medicinal benefits of natural substances like cannabis.”

Hatch and other sponsors are not fans of recreational marijuana but do see the need to find any solutions possible to the current opioid crisis.

“While I certainly do not support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, the evidence shows that cannabis possesses medicinal properties that can truly change people’s lives for the better,” the senator said. “And I believe, Mr. President, that we would be remiss if we threw out the baby with the bathwater.”

In a pun-filled statement, Hatch said,

“Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.”


Jason Vaughn is the founder of Pro-Life Texas and a board member of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. He has been active in politics since the age of 16 and speaks on life and liberty issues to groups across the state. He is also an active member of the Texas Young Republicans.

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