Even in this day and age of legal weed, there is very little research being conducted in the United States designed to learn more about the cannabis plant. But that would all change if a band of bipartisan lawmakers gets their way. The group recently fired off a letter to the gatekeeper of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee in an attempt to allow universities to study marijuana without living in fear that the federal government is going to give them a spanking.
The letter, which was signed by Representative Joe Neguse and 25 other federal lawmakers, is an attempt to protect these institutions of higher learning from losing funding as a result of their exploration into this Schedule 1 drug. As it stands, even if a university is located in a state where the possession of marijuana is legal under state law, it runs a risk of being stripped of crucial financial support if it loosens its policy against marijuana or engages in any type of research program. It’s Uncle Sam’s way of keeping its foot on their necks.
However, calling the situation “an undue hurdle for many academic institutions,” the letter suggests that the government should embrace any and all attempts by academia to roll up their sleeves and conduct meaningful research. “Formal research is especially important as more states legalize medical marijuana,” the letter reads. “We need medical professionals who are equipped with the knowledge to discuss competently issues surrounding cannabis and health. Evidence-based research regarding cannabis ought to be encouraged in academic settings, not discouraged.
Even though the country is on a clear path to legalize marijuana for recreational use, much like it has for alcohol and tobacco, Rep. Neguse has been on a hell-bent mission ever since he jumped into Congress last year to expand medical marijuana research. In fact, he is part of the push to get the Justice Department to finally license additional cannabis cultivators now that Jeff Sessions is long gone.
Even if we are entering into a society where soon adults 21 and over will have the freedom to possess and use this drug without the threat of legal complications, it isn’t a bad idea for science to dig into the plant now to try and substantiate some of the therapeutic claims that have surfaced over the years. We certainly need to be able to show the people that while this plant may have some medicinal function, it may or may not be the all-healing, cure-all that many pot proponents would like them to believe it is. Science is essential in revealing the truth about marijuana, and what better way to get the ball rolling than through the nation’s leading universities?
“Our constitutional framework has afforded the whole nation the chance to allow states to differ on many matters of public policy, including cannabis. As a result, that same framework should be extended to the protection of research of cannabis at higher education institutions,” the letter states.