Washington D.C.- In what could be the first time, three federal senators plan to introduce a bill on Tuesday that would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug. This means it can be prescribed by doctors to their patients for medical purposes.
The bill is to be presented to the public in a press conference at 12:30pm on Tuesday by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). They are expected to be joined by advocates and patients but it’s unclear if they will be speaking at this time.
The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) is expected to make public statements about the proposal soon after the press conference.
Several marijuana advocacy groups were consulted in the drafting of the bill.
“It really is a comprehensive bill—it would effectively end the federal war on medical marijuana,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority.
The details of the bill are limited but several sources have confirmed five of the bills points that will be revealed officially tomorrow.
- Reformation of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in order to grant wider access to cannabis for research purposes.
- Banks would be able to do business with the marijuana industry as they would with others.
- Marijuana would be downgraded from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug as classified by the DEA.
- Authorized carriers would be able to transport the drug across state lines to deliver to dispensaries.
- Doctors with the Department of Veteran Affairs would be able to prescribe the drug to patients where it’s legal in that state.
If the bill is passed, it would mark the first time since 1937 that the drug would be federally legal for limited medical use.
The history of the eventual federal ban, was deeply seeded in fear of Mexican immigrants. During 1910 to 1920 Mexican immigrants came to America in mass and brought the plant with them. Governmental bodies funded biased research that linked use of the plant with violence, sexual deviance and crime to the “racially inferior” and underclass. 1936 the famous propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was produced and the following year the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, which effectively banned all use except for restricted medical uses.