Medical marijuana research made great progress this week as a U.S. House Panel passed a bill that would force the Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to issue more licenses to cannabis cultivation companies to help further the research of medical cannabis. Currently there is only one facility growing cannabis for federal research of cannabis which is located at the University of Mississippi, but the product is often considered sub-par and too difficult to obtain by researchers. Before the bill passed there was much debate by lawmakers on language in the bill banning anyone from being involved in these grows or research who has a previous drug related conviction or felony. While many lawmakers were upset that the law was continuing the unfair practice of ostracizing those effected by unfair prohibition laws, other lawmakers refused to compromise, so the language remained in the bill to ensure it passed with the potential to be amended in the future. The bill is now on it's way to the House floor for another vote.
“There is no legitimate health or public safety justification for the inclusion of this language and we urge you to strike this unnecessary, punitive ban on individuals with previous drug law violations,” reads a letter sent to the committee's leaders on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, #cut50, the Drug Policy Alliance and other groups. “To help lower recidivism rates and improve public safety, we should be making it easier for people with records to obtain jobs, not more difficult.”