Despite the fact that over half of the states in the country have legalized cannabis in some form, the federal government still insists that the plant—which has been found to treat a variety of diseases—is one of the most dangerous substances available, with no medicinal value.
Lawmakers in the state of California are now calling out the hypocrisy and calling for the government to reclassify cannabis. A joint resolution that received overwhelming support from the California Assembly, with a vote of 60-10, called for reclassification in order to allow for research that is currently banned with cannabis labeled as a Schedule I substance.
“The Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to pass a law to reschedule marijuana or cannabis and its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to an alternative schedule, therefore allowing the legal research and development of marijuana or cannabis for medical use and allowing for the legal commerce of marijuana or cannabis so that businesses dealing with marijuana or cannabis can use traditional banks or financial institutions for their banking needs, which would result in providing a legal vehicle for those businesses to pay their taxes, including, but not limited to, payroll taxes, unsecured property taxes, and applicable taxes on the products sold in accordance with state and local laws.”
California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use in 1996. But it was not until last November that it was legalized in the state for recreational use.
As the resolution notes, cannabis has been “studied worldwide outside the United States for years” and has shown “efficacy for various conditions, such as wasting syndrome, as an antinauseant in those taking chemotherapy, Glaucoma (reduces intraocular pressure), Epilepsy (anti-seizure properties), migraine headaches and other types of pain, and anxiety.”
The Free Thought Project has provided extensive coverage of the healing power of cannabis, with groundbreaking studies such as a study that concluded cannabis can stop HIV from becoming AIDS; a study that confirmed that the majority of cannabis users give up prescription opiate medications; and a study that confirmed that cannabis has a “significant” effect on killing cancer cells.
However, it should be noted that while the U.S. government continues to attempt to limit cannabis by keeping it a “Schedule I” substance, the government actually holds the patent to cannabis as medicine, affirming its value.
In addition to the opportunity for research, California’s joint resolution argued that cannabis should be rescheduled, because its current restrictions under federal law make it so that dispensaries and cannabis businesses “are unable to legally use traditional banking institutions.” As a result, “many vendors resort to the black market and involvement of organized crime making communities less safe.”
“Concerns about the criminality and forfeiture provisions in federal law impede traditional banking institutions from doing business with potential clients cultivating, researching, selling, or utilizing marijuana or cannabis and its derivatives, therefore making marijuana commerce very difficult. … The inability to use traditional banking institutions impedes local and state government from adequately monitoring true marijuana or cannabis utilization and shortchanges the respective taxes owed to taxing agencies, potentially costing state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax income.”
As TFTP reported earlier this month, the inability to use a traditional bank is currently being used as an excuse in Florida, where local lawmakers are pushing back against the public, and looking for reasons to prohibit the medical cannabis dispensaries that were approved by the vast majority of voters.
According to the results from a Harvard-Harris Poll that was published last month, 86 percent of Americans now support some form of cannabis legalization. With the overwhelming majority of Americans viewing cannabis as the plant that it is—instead of the terrifying gateway drug the federal government has made it out to be—it raises the question of whether other states will join California in demanding that Congress finally listen to the American public.