Take Action This 420
This weekend is Earth Day, but it seems more people are excited about 420, the international celebration of cannabis. While there seems to be little done on addressing climate change, there is a lot being done to address and reform the United States' harsh over-regulation of cannabis. The past two weeks alone has shown historic progress.
The headlines began when former GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner came out of retirement to tweet, "I'm convinced de-scheduling [marijuana] is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities." Just two days later, President Trump said he would look past Attorney General Sessions’ shortcomings, and support States Rights regarding medical marijuana laws. And just yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he would introduce a new bill to decriminalize marijuana.
The fact is – conservatives around the country are seeing direct positive impacts to patients – Cannabis can be used for treating PTSD in Veterans, chronic pain in the elderly, children with rare seizure disorders, cancer; the list goes on. But cannabis has many more uses than marijuana – in Industrial Hemp.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to announce the introduction of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. Hemp has thousands of uses for sustainable products, from Omega-3 rich super foods, to biocomposites and plastics, to hemp concrete. Hemp was grown by our Founding Fathers and in 1938 there were over 25,000 uses for the ‘billion dollar crop’.
Stigmatization around psychoactive cannabis has put hemp on the sidelines for decades – until now. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would fully legalize hemp farming and create thousands of jobs and opportunities for farmers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs to produce non-psychoactive hemp products. On Monday, Rule 14 was invoked by the Senate Leader, and the bill was put on a fast track. The opportunity in the emerging hemp industry cannot be overstated.
In order for cannabis and hemp derived CBD to be respected and utilized, it must be taken out of jurisdiction from DEA and into FDA. The FDA is listening, and they are well on their way to approving the first cannabis based CBD pharmaceutical drug. But CBD and cannabis should not be cordoned off by big pharma - they should be safe and available as plant based medicines. The FDA - for this weekend only - is accepting public comments on both marijuana and CBD, and it is imperitive to take action.
This weekend is of epic proportions. Today is 420, the international day to celebrate cannabis. Tomorrow is the day when most Earth Day celebrations will be held, but is also the unofficial International Hemp Day, a bridge between uses of cannabis, with the ecological benefits of hemp farming. Sunday is Earth Day. This Earth Day weekend, we may not be able to reverse climate change, not that we shouldn't lay the groundwork. But we can take action on cannabis. Make the time this weekend to submit a public comment to the FDA to encourage them to respect patients and plant based medicines, and remove medical marijuana from Schedule I. It’s perfect timing - the time is now to take action to deschedule cannabis.
About the Author:
Ben Droz has spent the past decade as Washington’s leading hemp lobbyist, working to legalize low THC varieties of industrial hemp for farmers, businesses, and consumers. Droz is contributing editor to HEMP Magazine, founder of the Hemp Guide, and speaks at hemp and cannabis conferences throughout the Country.