No matter what the Department of Justice, the DEA or the FDA have ruled about the Schedule I classification of cannabis – even recently – the US surgeon general, Vivek Murthy thinks otherwise.
In February, Dr. Murthy told CBS News that “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful.” He also said that he believes that scientific data like this should drive public policy.
No matter the political drama right now over legalization, the trend right now is to broaden the legal protections for pot, even if for slightly different reasons. It is clearly apparent in the downstream of regulations in Washington State – in particular – that legalization was seen less as a prioritization on the public health front and rather more for its impact on the state’s bottom line. Other states, including newly recreational Oregon and Alaska, as well as Colorado, all intend to develop far more of a strong medical infrastructure. In DC, no matter what happens to rec use, the medical program is in no danger of being shut down.
In truth, the long battle for legalization has been mostly driven by the dramatic efficacy of medical marijuana and for a host of conditions that seem to expand as new research comes online.
By far the world leader in the medical pot field is Israel – including for reasons that there is no drug war in the country and the fact that despite denying federal research money to US researchers, the American National Institutes of Health has funded millions of dollars of cannabinoid research in country – for over 40 years.
2014 was, no matter the excitement about recreational market start, a breakthrough year for the medical efficacy of marijuana – and on a national level.
Governments all over the world also began to change medical policy as a result. Not only did Israel expand its medical dispensation program last year, repeatedly, but Germany began its move to integrate medical cannabis into the country’s health system (it is widely expected) starting in 2016.
In the United States, however, Murthy remains one of the few high profile, federal level members of the government who admit that marijuana even has a medicinal use.
As a result, medical marijuana is shaping up to be one of, if not the most, important political litmus test in the US for 2016.
by Marguerite Arnold