This article aims to discuss the three main reasons why the complete legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes might still be far away from us. One reason is that it is difficult for researchers. The second is that there is not enough funding available, and finally, it is caught up in a web of political tangles.
Marijuana Legislation is Difficult for Researchers
It is not directly the fact that in the current US federal law, marijuana is considered as a Schedule 1 controlled substance with the likes of heroin, cocaine, LSD adn ecstacy that prohibits researchers from digging deeper into the medicinal value of marijuana. This scheduling has caused some severe roadblocks for scientists and medical researchers because the DEA decides how much marijuana researchers can use for their studies. Researchers have to go through a lengthy process of getting their research approved by the DEA, the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is the only agency that has the authority to supply and distribute marijuana for research purposes. They, however, do not do the same for other substances listed in Schedule 1. Getting the plant from the NIDA to research facilities is a very lengthy process.
Lack of Funding
Another impediment in marijuana research is the fact that there just isn’t enough research funding available. Even the health agencies are not that keen to raise or distribute funds for this research. Both the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health try not to get on the bad side of the DEA. Even universities that have sufficient funding are reluctant because the government could easily shut them down. Medical researchers, professors and scholars are not willing to take such risks. Universities have also been shy about accepting private funding for marijuana research because the government could still claim that the research is being performed in federally-funded facilities. In the past, major private donations for marijuana research went to NGO’s instead of actual research on the drug.
The Political Quagmire
Politics is another key factor that clogs up the research on medical marijuana. The majority of Americans are in favor of changes in legislation, but somehow, this sentiment is not shared by the people who represent them. To this day, there is still a very strong opposition to marijuana in our nation’s legislature. This is despite the fact that the President himself stated (on record) that federal authorities should not meddle with state laws regarding marijuana.