Thursday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, spoke with Alabama reporters on issues currently facing the state and the nation. During the call the issue of taking marijuana off of the federal controlled substances list came up.
“I think it is about time that we moved it off the controlled states list,” Jones said. “This is really a states right issue these days.”
Jones said that this would do two things: first it would “let the states make a determination themselves and it allows us to do research.”
A number of states have passed medical marijuana legislation. The Alabama legislature has established a commission to study making a recommendation to the legislature in the 2020 regular session. Some states have legalized marijuana recreationally. All of these state laws are legally dubious while marijuana remains scheduled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a controlled substance. Since it is generally accepted legally, that federal law is supreme over state law, a future President could reverse the policies of the Obama and Trump Administration to allow the states to regulate the product at the state level.
Jones said that “Veterans in particular” want this.
“It’s really a states rights issue,” Jones told reporters.
“Instead of continuing to incarcerate people, we should put our federal resources into higher level drug trafficking and human trafficking,” Jones said.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbards (D-Hawaii) has announced that she is introducing legislation to take the drug off of the controlled substances list. Gabbards has made the issue part of her presidential campaign. On Aug. 28, the Food and Drug Administration announced a 30 day comment period to get public feedback on the potential reclassification of marijuana under international treaties.
The UN’s World Health Organization said in February that marijuana and THC, which are currently placed in the strictest drug category under international treaties, should be rescheduled. It further asserted that CBD oil should not be restricted at all, citing evidence that the compound “has no potential for abuse and no potential to produce dependence.”
Mexico is expected to legalize cannabis later this year after a Supreme Court ruling there making the prohibition of the plant unconstitutional.
The FDA and the Trump Administration are seeking public comment on how the U.S. should respond.
On Tuesday, State Senator Tim Melton (R-Florence) told Birmingham radio host Matt and Aunie at 99.5 that he intended to introduce medical marijuana legislation when the regular session begins on February 4 whether a majority of the members of the study commission he chairs supports the legislation or not.
Melson, who is a doctor as well as a legislator, believes that the drug has some medicinal benefit, particularly at the end of life phase.
Jones was elected in a special election in 2017 and faces a tough re-election effort in 2020.