As it slowly acknowledges the depths of the opioid epidemic, Congress is failing to recognize that medical marijuana may be a simple and effective solution, Rep. Earl Blumenauer said Wednesday.
The Oregon Democrat and longtime champion of medical marijuana made the remarks in testimony before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Health hearing on proposals for ending the opioid crisis.
In addition to his testimony, Blumenauer distributed to subcommittee members a pamphlet entitled, “Physician Guide to Cannabis-Assisted Opioid Reduction,” which the congressman’s office also shared with The Cannabist. It cites 16 published studies in outlining how cannabis can reduce opioid consumption, tolerance and overdose mortality.
Blumenauer wrapped his testimony by demanding an end to the federal government’s “stranglehold” on medical cannabis research. He called on Congress to pass the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2017, which would enable “robust” research to resolve the lingering questions surrounding the efficacy of medical marijuana, he said.
The bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Blumenauer; Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia; and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California; would amend the Controlled Substances Act to make marijuana accessible for use by qualified marijuana researchers for medical purposes.