This week, the US House of Representatives introduced legislation that would reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III. Schedule III is home to drugs with medicinal value with a low potential for abuse. Drugs currently on Schedule III are like Ketamine, Codeine, and Suboxone.
The bill, H.R. 2020 was introduced Thursday by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Darren Soto (D-FL). If passed, HR 2020 would not only reclassify cannabis to Schedule III, but would also allow dispensaries, growers and other cannabis related businesses to work with banks, and deduct business expenses from their taxes. This move will not only save business owners a lot of money on their taxes, but will also make dispensaries less susceptible to robberies and other violent crimes.
Gaetz introduced HR 2020 with a rousing speech on the House floor. He started by saying that cannabis’ current status as Schedule I, “harms low-income communities each year, it turns thousands of citizens into felons and it punishes people who are sick and looking for medical help.” Gaetz continued on, “I think of Rayann, a young lady in my district with juvenile refractory epilepsy. She has seizures every day. Other treatments failed, but medical marijuana helped improve her condition. I thought of her when I worked on, and passed, Florida’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.”
Medical cannabis is currently legal in the state of Florida. Voters last fall voted on a measure to do away with restrictions in the state’s current medical cannabis laws. Darren Soto, the other sponsor for the bill said in a press release Thursday, “Floridians have spoken and Medical Marijuana is the law of the land. It’s now time for the federal government to recognize this emerging law and the well-known medical benefits of marijuana.”
Reclassifying cannabis to Schedule III is nowhere close to legalization, but it would be a gigantic improvement. Barriers to cannabis research would be removed, and people would no longer be automatically thrown in prison for possession. As Gaetz said in his speech, 93 percent of adults support legalizing cannabis for medical use. It’s time for the US government to rethink its position on cannabis.
Image Source: Willamette Week
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