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House Republican offers medical marijuana bill

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) on Monday introduced legislation that would prohibit the federal government from interfering with states that want to legalize the use of medical marijuana.

His bill would let doctors prescribe medical marijuana, allow people to possess it, and allow its movement within a state, subject to state law. It would also reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug.

Marijuana plants like this one in Oakland, Calif., could proliferate under a GOP bill allowing states to regulate the product for medicinal use. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File 

Griffith’s home state of Virginia passed legislation allowing the use of medicinal marijuana, but the federal criminalization of marijuana prevents the state law from taking effect. Griffith said his legislation is needed to give patients every tool available to treat their illnesses.

He told the story of one acquaintance of his who had cancer, and used marijuana to give him enough appetite to eat, “thus increasing his strength and giving him potentially more time with his child and other loved ones.”

“Isn’t it cruel to not allow real doctors, real drug companies, and real pharmacists to use marijuana for legitimate medical reasons for real patients?” Griffith asked. “We use all sorts of opioids under the same scenario that this bill would allow us to use marijuana.

“The Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act would merely allow health care professionals and patients to have another legal tool to use.”

House members have introduced several bills aimed at ending the federal ban on the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Most of the support for these bills has come from Democrats, although Republicans are cosponsors of some of these measures.

For example, two House Republicans have cosponsored a bill allowing entities dealing in medical marijuana access to the U.S. banking system.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) has proposed his own bill requiring the federal government to defer to states with laws that allow medicinal marijuana, which has five Republican cosponsors.

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