The Medical Cannabis Research Act was finally passed by the House Judiciary Committee of Congress. This was the first time in 50 years that a Republican-dominated congressional committee has passed any legal cannabis reform legislation.
Republic Mathew Gaetz and 40 other cosponsors set the momentum rolling for the Thursday vote, which paved the way for additional facilities to get licenses to grow research-grade cannabis.
Congressman Matt Gaetz said that the U.S. had for too long been trapped in a catch-22 situation in which cannabis laws couldn’t be revised due to the absence of sufficient scientific research, yet that needed research could not be conducted due to the existing legal restrictions. Gaetz said that this “logjam” would be untangled by the Act.
Committee chair Bob Goodlatte echoed similar sentiments in his statement on the matter. He said that, while differing opinions exist on the subject of marijuana, there was agreement that scientific information/research was needed to guide the debate.
The statement by Bob Goodlatte could explain why he changed from his opposition to approving any law legalizing any form of cannabis to supporting this Act, which will allow researchers to study the possible medical value of the substance.
The committee sitting did have its share of controversy, however.
Serious objections were mounted to clauses that barred anyone with a drugs-related conviction, whether a misdemeanor or felony conviction, from participating in the legal cannabis industry.
Human Rights Watch, the Drug Policy Alliance and other advocacy groups read statements denouncing those clauses that exclude citizens who have already served punishments for their infractions.
Their view is that ex-convicts should be helped to get employment rather than be hindered from becoming productive members of their communities.
Gaetz shocked committee members when he confessed that the language in question wasn’t in his original draft of the bill. However, he was prevailed upon by cannabis industry firms to include that wording in order to keep “riff-raff” from applying for a cannabis research or cultivation license! Companies like Earth Science Tech, Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) and Pacific Software, Inc. (OTC: PFSF) would certainly not be party to such an action since they believe in free and ethical enterprise.
Committee chairman Goodlatte promised to find a way to address the concerns about that “unacceptable” language/clause before the Act is forwarded to the entire house for a vote.
It is widely believed that the Senate will be an easier ground for the Act to navigate and obtain approval.
What is now left is to wait for the Act to be scheduled on the business of Congress. When will that happen? Your guess is as good as ours.
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