Last week, medical marijuana made history. With the passage of the MORE Act by the US House and the UN’s reclassification of cannabis from Schedule IV, the tides are turning in favor of medical cannabis.
Here’s what you need to know about these historic developments and what they could mean for the future of the cannabis industry, legalization and more.
Growing Support for Cannabis in Congress
Last Friday, the US House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act which would federally legalize cannabis by removing it from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. In addition to federally legalizing cannabis, the bill would loosen many restrictions surrounding the cannabis industry and expunge past non-violent marijuana offenses. The bill passed 228-164 and now awaits a vote in the Senate, where it faces a narrow path to becoming law.
Additionally, the US House recently passed new legislation to expand medical marijuana research, allowing scientists to study the efficacy and health effects of cannabis with fewer research limitations. Unlike the MORE Act, this legislation has bipartisan support, offering it a higher chance of passing in the Senate.
Both of these bills are significant milestones for cannabis in the United States since its illegalization in 1937. With a record-high number of Americans supporting legalization, the US House represents the shifting views of cannabis by both lawmakers and the public.
What Does This Mean for Cannabis Legalization?
Currently, marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule I drug by the United States government alongside heroin, PCP and LSD. Substances classified in Schedule I have no accepted medical use by the US government. The federal government’s descheduling of marijuana, therefore, would open more opportunities for medicinal use and research of medical marijuana’s therapeutic benefits.
Although cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I substance federally, the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs recently voted to reschedule marijuana from Schedule IV where it was listed alongside dangerous narcotics such as heroin. The United States voted in favor of this decision, further demonstrating cannabis’ growing support at home and abroad.
More Progress Is Needed
While the MORE Act is a step forward, millions of patients still do not have access to medical cannabis in the United States. In Texas, patients and prescribers face many limitations in the medical cannabis program.
Do you want to help advocate for expansions in the medical marijuana program in Texas? Here’s how you can get involved: