October is breast cancer awareness month and there is something that our Representative Matt Gaetz wants the federal government to know. Marijuana has shown the ability to interfere with cancer cell replication. It also helps calm the stomachs of patients going though chemotherapy. While medical marijuana is legal here in Florida, the federal government still has not come around.
The federal government lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, which means the federal government believes that cannabis is highly addictive and has no medical benefits. The strict scheduling also prevents the in-depth research needed to understand all that marijuana can do medicinally. Rep. Gaetz wants to see marijuana rescheduled so that more people in the country can benefit from medical marijuana and so that we can know more about what it can do. Do you believe that it is important that we know more?
A Republican member of Congress took to the House floor on Thursday to argue in favor of medical marijuana’s benefits for people with breast cancer.
“Cannabis has shown promise in cancer research for over two decades,” Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida said during a brief speech. “There is now conclusive research that shows that cannabis-related compounds have anti-tumor properties. Yet despite these findings, scientists are going too slow. It is time for cannabis research to begin and we should declassify it as a Schedule I drug.”
“I wish I was a brilliant scientist and could develop a cure. I wish I was a magician and could wave a magic wand and cure breast cancer,” Gaetz said. “But I’m just a member of Congress. And actually there are things this Congress could do to make breast cancer less likely, less deadly and less painful.
Gaetz, who is sponsoring legislation to reclassify marijuana under federal law, cited research indicating that cannabis compounds can help fight malignant forms of breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The evidence shows that cannabis possesses medicinal properties that can truly change people’s lives for the better,” Sen. Orrin Hatch said last month when introducing legislation to remove roadblocks to studies on the drug’s medical potential. “I strongly support research into the medicinal benefits of marijuana, and I remain committed to helping patients find the help they need, whether they suffer from cancer, severe seizures or any other chronic disorder.”
In the days since that Senate floor speech, Hatch has spoken about medical cannabis at seemingly every opportunity. In tweets, press releases, committee hearings and videos, the senator and his staff have consistently maintained a focus on marijuana issues.
Hatch even cited his cannabis advocacy in pushing back against press reports about opioid-related legislation that led to President Trump’s nominee for drug czar withdrawing from consideration last week.
Hatch’s marijuana moves, and how his office has characterized them, have taken many longtime observers of marijuana policy by surprise in light of the Utah GOP senator’s longtime vocal opposition to cannabis law reform.
Despite telling Rolling Stone last month that there’s been “no transformation” in his position on the issue and that he’s “always been for any decent medicine,” a review of Congressional records shows that Hatch’s views have indeed shifted over the years, in a very big way.
In 1977, when Hatch was a first-year freshman senator in, he voted no on a Judiciary Committee amendment to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. It cleared the panel over his objection, six votes to four.
“We’re sending out a message that really shouldn’t be sent out,” the Utah senator said.
But that was only a temporary setback for prohibitionist forces. After the vote, Hatch threatened to submit a substitute amendment establishing prison sentences for low-level cannabis possession, and the committee reversed itself the following week, undoing the decrim proposal.
Nearly two decades later, Hatch had ascended to the chairmanship of the panel. In December 1996, just weeks after California and Arizona voters became the first in the country to approve medical cannabis, he convened a Judiciary Committee hearing with the intent of pressing Clinton administration officials to work to overturn the state measures.
“Perhaps the most effective way to handle this would be to work with concerned citizens in Arizona and California who want to modify or repeal these initiatives,” he said, according to the hearing record. “I would like to know what the administration’s thinking is in this area and who is going to make these decisions as soon as possible because I think we can’t let this go without a response.”
Citing the DEA and other cannabis opponents, Hatch said that the “asserted medical benefits of marijuana have been rejected,” “marijuana is likely to be more cancer-causing than tobacco” and that the state initiatives “send the wrong message to our youth and easily could worsen the problem.”
He argued that the drug legalization movement essentially tricked voters into approving the ballot measures with “disingenuous tactics” such as misleading TV ads that “tug at the heartstrings.”
“Today, we will hear how the philanthropists of the drug legalization movement pumped millions of dollars in out-of-state soft money into stealth campaigns designed to conceal their real objective — the legalization of drugs. We will view some of their deceptive advertisements and we will learn the true threat these soft-headed campaigns pose to America…
“These were successful examples of stealth political strategies — that relied on misdirection and dissemblance to persuade the public that a campaign is devoted to salving the pain of the ill and dying or is designed to ‘get tough’ with drug offenders, but in truth were just a first step in a larger movement toward decriminalization of controlled drugs.”