The United States has clearly entered sea-change territory when it comes to cannabis policy. A handful of states have legalized recreational marijuana use and more than half have legalized medical use while others are poised to do so. And in what will be the real game-changer, California may legalize recreational use in 2016.Change is in the air, and it smells sweet. Sonoma County attorney Omar Figueroa is right in the middle of it all, defending cannabis clients as they sweat out the last days of prohibition.To that end, last week medical cannabis activists descended on Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress on a bill called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015 (CARER).
If enacted, the bill would accomplish three main goals outlined in that wordy title: expand access to cannabis (including pediatric access), pave the way for more research into its benefits and get the feds to lay off states that have legalized medical cannabis.It’s a big, detailed bill that would reschedule cannabis from its present federal “schedule 1” to a “schedule 2” category—undoing a Nixonian legacy of overreactions to hippie culture which decreed that cannabis had no medical value whatsoever and lumped it in with heroin and PCP. (more…)