After nearly every marijuana bill that appears in Congress gets ignored for a vote, this week one major cannabis proposal will finally get its day.
The Medical Cannabis Research Act is set to receive a vote this week by a House panel that oversees federal drug enforcement. The bill would require the federal government to issue more licenses to grow cannabis for medical research. The bill has over 40 co-sponsors from members representing both parties and would be the first cannabis bill to make it through the House Judiciary Committee under the current Republican-led Congress.
While you would think this would be a major cause for celebration among marijuana advocates, some are actually not pleased with this bill and there are two reasons. One is that the bill bars anyone with a felony or misdemeanor conviction from being affiliated with the marijuana cultivation for research purposes. So people who have been harmed by America's ridiculous drug laws would be barred from taking part in the benefits of changing policies.
The other reason is that the bill requires that whoever gets the new licenses to grow marijuana for research have "good standing" with their local law enforcement. However, many local law enforcement agencies do not approve of marijuana legalization, so there may be many companies who are cut out simply because local police don't like cannabis.
Many also note that this bill doesn't really address the bigger issues related to marijuana, such as protections for legalized states or helping people who have been harmed by the War on Drugs.
So basically Republicans are letting the weakest possible cannabis bill get a vote.