Can the U.S Federal Government Really Prohibit Marijuana Use? Or is it Just a Foolish Gambit by Ultra-Conservatives?

“Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions is wrong to seek to prohibit marijuana use,” a leading physician says.

Can the U.S Federal Government Really Prohibit Marijuana Use? Or is it Just a Foolish Gambit by Ultra-Conservatives?

Marijuana was made illegal for political reasons in the 70s. Since then, doctors have not been able to prescribe cannabis for pain except in states that have legalized it. But marijuana is not addictive and pain-relieving effects are well-documented.

“Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions is wrong to seek to prohibit marijuana use,” a leading physician says.

Dr. David Bearman, expert role of marijuana in society and medicine and author of Drugs Are NOT The Devil’s Tools, says that substance abuse is a medical issue and not a criminal issue.

“History shows that archaic, failed, unscientific regulation fails,” he says. “Instead, we need to recognize how important marijuana is to people, and focus on supporting healthy parenting in healthy families in a healthy economy”.

Marijuana was made illegal for political reasons in the 70s. Since then, doctors have not been able to prescribe cannabis for pain except in states that have legalized it. But marijuana is not addictive and pain-relieving effects are well-documented. If doctors had been able to prescribe it for pain we probably would not have an opioid crisis.

“Marijuana is fueling massive social change,” says Dr. Bearman. “It matters to the young, middle aged, and the old in households all across America. Politicians needs to wake up and get with it.”

Marijuana Legislative Timeline in US:

1914 Cannabis excluded from the Harrison Narcotic Act by Congress – in US pharmacies and considered the best treatment for migraines

1937 Marijuana Tax Act passed over objections by the AMA

1969 US Supreme Court finds Marijuana Tax Act unconstitutional

1970 Congress passes the Controlled Substance Act making marijuana illegal and a Schedule I drug like heroin and cocaine

1996 California State Legislature legalizes medical cannabis

2009 U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suspends federal raids on legal dispensaries

2012 Colorado & Washington legalize recreational cannabis use

2013 The Cole Amendment, a memorandum calling for the Justice Department to not enforce federal law on marijuana against cannabis businesses operating legally under state law.

2014 Rohrbacker-Farr Budget amendment barring expenditure of federal funds to enforce federal cannabis laws in states where medicinal cannabis is legal. Attached to each subsequent budget

2014-17 All but 5 states legalize some form of medical cannabis and eight states plus the District of Columbia legalize recreational use


Dr. Bearman observes that no political party has made marijuana a major centerpiece for discussion. Yet Sessions recent policy change makes marijuana politics a major issue that can impact state and national political outcomes in 2018.

“Marijuana is more widely used, enjoyed, and appreciated than any of its detractors is willing to admit. There are numerous political candidates seeking to reform federal marijuana policies - from pushing to protect state laws to advocating marijuana's reclassification from a Schedule I drug like heroin to Schedule III drug so long term studies can be done on the drug's medical benefits. Cannabis reform is now occurring on multiple fronts.”

An August 2016 study published by Harvard Medical School identifies over 20 million people use medical marijuana in the United States. A Gallup poll in October 2017 showed that 64% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.

Marijuana was made illegal in 1970s for political reasons. Forty-six states have passed laws, contrary to federal laws, to allow the use of marijuana for medical conditions.

Numerous states have also decriminalized recreational marijuana use by adults or have similar measures on upcoming ballots.

“Medical and recreational marijuana is going to energize large portions of the voting populace, particularly among students, those looking for alternative health care options, and minorities,” Dr. Bearman says. “The growing awareness that marijuana is medicine is forcing change.”

Recently, the head of the National Institute of Drug Addiction (the NIDA is no fan of cannabis) addressed the American Society of Addictive Medicine and told them to prescribe cannabis for pain instead opiates.

A partial list of the known medical marijuana uses now includes:

  • To relieve pain (and its use is being recommended to doctors in lieu of prescribing opiates)

  • As an appetite stimulant in AIDS and chemotherapy patientsTo help treat inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

  • To treat chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting

  • To treat muscle spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis

  • To reduce the growth of cancers

  • To treat cancer-related pain not managed by other pain medication

  • To treat drug-resistant epilepsy, particularly in children

  • To treat psychiatric disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance use disorders, and bipolar disorder)

  • To reduce the symptoms of conditions in the autism spectrum disorder

  • To reduce the side effects of treatment for Hepatitis C (nausea, fatigue, muscle aches, and depression). 

  • To reduce the symptoms of autoimmune disease (e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, Restless Leg Syndrome, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)

  • To help people get to sleep, get better quality sleep and awaken without a drug hangover

Although marijuana can help relieve the symptoms of many medical conditions and is used as medicine most states, its use is still prohibited by federal level.

The attempts by Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resist further legalization efforts is being met with loud public outcry.

Their efforts may also turn out to be unconstitutional. In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Linder v. United States confirmed the regulation of the practice of medicine is a right reserved for the states, as well as guaranteed by the 9th and 10th amendments.