Ninth District Congressman Morgan Griffith has introduced a bill that would have the federal government legally allow states the right to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Griffith says real doctors, real drug companies and real pharmacists should be able to use marijuana for legitimate medical reasons for real patients. He compares it to the way we currently use and regulate opioids. Griffith says he still opposes recreational legalization of marijuana.
News Release from Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
Griffith Introduces the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 4498, the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act (LUMMA):
“Decades ago, I knew of someone who was suffering from cancer. This man had a two-year-old child and wanted to do all in his power to spend as much time as possible with his child. Every moment was important to him.
“I was told by his friends that his doctors instructed hospital staff to not go into his room between 11 a.m. and twelve noon. His friends would sneak marijuana into the hospital for him to use medically during that time. Doing so gave him the appetite and ability to eat his lunch, which arrived at noon, thus increasing his strength and giving him potentially more time with his child and other loved ones.
“25 years later and hours away, I am answering questions from a group of high school students when the issue of marijuana came up. After discussing the above situation, another hand goes up. I am expecting a return to questions about the recreational use of marijuana, which I oppose. Instead, the room goes quiet as the young man says, ‘They did that for my daddy too.’
“Isn’t it cruel to not allow real doctors, real drug companies, and real pharmaciststo use marijuana for legitimate medical reasonsfor real patients? We use all sorts of opioids under the same scenario that this bill would allow us to use marijuana.The Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act would merely allow health care professionals and patients to have another legal tool to use.
“The Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act would have the federal government legally allow the states to move towards an appropriate use of medicinal marijuana. Virginia passed a medical marijuana statute for glaucoma and cancer treatment in 1979 in the anticipation that one day, federal law would allow it. It probably should have happened sooner, but Virginia’s responsible approach should have to wait no more.”
On Monday, April 28, 2014, Griffith introduced the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act (LUMMA). This bill would prohibit the federal government from preventing the prescription, possession, transportation, and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes in compliance with applicable state law. The bill would also reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. The Controlled Substance Act (CSA), which became law in 1970, provides for the current classification of marijuana. In 1979, Virginia passed measures to permit the use of marijuana for the purposes of treating cancer or glaucoma. However, this is blocked by the current federal law, which Griffith’s bill would alleviate.
There are other possible uses for medical marijuana, including epilepsy. The Washington Post recently highlighted families like that of Beth Collins, formerly of Fairfax County. Ms. Collins, who “…said her teenage daughter suffered as many as 300 epileptic seizures per day…” recently moved with her family to Colorado to try medical marijuana oil in an effort to give her daughter Jennifer “a chance at a normal life.”
According to the Washington Post, “’I feel a lot better,’ Jennifer said of the treatment, which is scientifically untested. ‘I can focus more, I’m doing better on tests in school. My memory’s improved a lot.’ Her seizures are ‘not completely gone,’ but her mother said that ‘we’ve had days where I’ve seen very few, maybe one or two. That’s a major decrease.’”
Text of the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act (LUMMA) is attached. Also attached is Virginia’s medical marijuana law.