Two congressional freshmen from the Sunshine State teamed up last week to change how marijuana is classified at the federal level.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., to offer a proposal changing how marijuana is scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. Currently, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug much as heroin, LSD and other harder drugs are. Under Gaetz’s and Soto’s proposal, marijuana would be moved over to a Schedule III drug which are generally less harmful. Currently, some stimulants, depressants and steroids are included as Schedule III drugs.
Noting that medical marijuana laws are increasingly being adopted across the nation, Gaetz said the time has come for the federal government to change how marijuana is scheduled.
“This drug should not be in the same category as heroin and LSD, and we do not need to continue with a policy that turns thousands of young people into felons every year,” Gaetz said when he brought out the bill last week. “Nor do we need to punish the millions of people who are sick and seeking medical help – from pain, from muscle wasting, from chemotherapy-induced nausea.”
Soto noted that Florida passed Amendment 2, which expanded medical marijuana use in the Sunshine State, last year and urged the federal government to get on board with medical marijuana.
“Floridians have spoken and medical marijuana is the law of the land,” Soto said. “It's now time for the federal government to recognize this emerging law and the well-known medical benefits of marijuana.”
The bill was sent to both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee last week. So far, the two Florida congressmen have yet to round up any additional co-sponsors. There is currently no related bill over in the Senate.
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