At the federal government level, cannabis continues to be classified as a Schedule 1 drug which means that the federal government has classified it as a controlled substance that has some potential for abuse and no medical value. But interestingly, federal government, through US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also owns a patent US6630507 which appears to acknowledge that marijuana can act as medicine.
Congressional Bills on Medical Cannabis
Seventy one (71 bill) have been introduced in the 115th session of the Congress (2017-2019) that would have, directly or indirectly, impacted the regulations of medical cannabis and legalization of different aspects of the cannabis industry. You can read about each of the legislations introduced in the Congress here.
In the 116th session of the Congress (2019-2021), 16 bills related to regulations of cannabis industry have been introduced so far. You can read about the bills here.
The large number of bills being introduced in the Congress shows the tremendous public support that exists for ending United States' nearly century-long ban on cannabis. Hemp Farming Act 2018 has been the most notable bill out of these because it was tied to the 2018 Farm Bill (S. 2667/H.R 5485) and legalized the farming of Hemp (another type of cannabis plant), a versatile crop that can be used in products ranging from food to clothing.
There are two legislations that The Cannabis Foundation believes will make a difference to the world of medical Cannabis and related research. First one is Bill (S. 1374/H.R. 127) which will enable research into the medicinal properties of Cannabis. This bill is called 2019 CARERS Act. This bipartisan bill would reclassify Cannabis as a schedule II drug — meaning it has a legitimate medical use — and allow states to operate medical marijuana programs without federal interference. The bill is pending.
And the second bill is H.R. 601: Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019 which proposes to increase the number of manufacturers registered under the Controlled Substances Act to manufacture cannabis for legitimate research purposes, to authorize health care providers of the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide recommendations to veterans regarding participation in federally approved cannabis clinical trials, and for other purposes. This bill is pending.
We would like our advocates to call their local senators and house representatives and ask them to support these bills in the congress.