Proponents of a new effort to study marijuana on Capitol Hill believe their bill has the greatest chance of becoming law because it seeks to do something both relatively uncontroversial and completely novel: Remove politics from the debate over marijuana altogether, while putting the nation’s scientists in the driver’s seat.
This latest effort, dubbed the Marijuana Data Collection Act, would require the National Academy of Sciences to release a scientifically rigorous report every two years on a range of topics involving weed, including its impact on public safety and health, the economy and what legalization — or the lack thereof — has meant for the criminal justice system. Studies on all of those topics are coming out regularly now from the states who are no longer abiding by the federal prohibition on marijuana and are conducting their own tests and studies on it because their states have legalized the substance either for recreational or medicinal use, but some of those studies are rigorous while others seem to be agenda driven — from both sides of the debate.
That’s why the legislation asks the nation’s premiere scientists to put their stamp of approval on the best studies being produced in the disparate corners of this massive nation. If that sounds simple, that’s because it’s intended to be.
“This is very difficult to argue against,” Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo, the bill’s lead Republican sponsor, tells Rolling Stone. “Only those that have a more zealous position on this issue will oppose uncovering the truth, because they know that it will make it more likely that the federal government will just kind of retreat on the marijuana issue and let the states lead.”
The bill isn’t specifically aimed at anti-marijuana Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but if passed it would offer proponents and opponents of marijuana better statistics and data than his Department of Justice currently provides.
“Many have manipulated the truth and parroted false information with regards to marijuana in order to pursue a reckless policy, and specifically I’m thinking of the Attorney General of the United States who has been dishonest, disingenuous and misleading…