The Trump administration has proposed a number of changes to state laws governing medical marijuana, including revoking the medical marijuana card for certain people who have a severe medical condition, loosening restrictions on how the drug is used, and requiring that marijuana be tested for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals.
The proposed changes are being met with some skepticism by those who favor legalization, but the proposal could be a step in the right direction for many.
“We don’t want to see people arrested for doing nothing more than using marijuana, but we don’t know what they’re going to do next,” said Adam Gershoff, a former prosecutor who is now a policy adviser for the Drug Policy Alliance.
“The Trump administration is not taking a stand, but I think the administration is recognizing that there are people who are in a very precarious situation right now.”
The administration’s proposal would reverse the federal ban on medical marijuana patients and medical marijuana providers, who are required to obtain a license.
The Trump-era policy would allow state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, while the federal government would have to respect the states’ existing restrictions.
Under the proposal, patients and providers would be allowed to grow their own marijuana and possess it only at their own homes.
However, those with severe medical conditions would still be required to have a physician certify their use of marijuana.
If approved, the policy would require states to make sure patients and caregivers meet all of the requirements for obtaining a license, including having a medical condition that would be treated with a prescription and having a physician’s note attesting to the diagnosis.
The proposal also requires states to provide an approved medical marijuana education program for all students in their public schools and public colleges.
Currently, there are about 150,000 people in the United States who use marijuana for medical purposes, and only 3,500 people are certified by a physician to be qualified to receive a medical marijuana license.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last month found that marijuana use by people with severe and chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was a factor in their suicide attempts.
The policy also allows for the use of cannabis oil to treat nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, but it does not allow for its use for epilepsy patients, according to the researchers.
Gersheims group is concerned that some states could not properly oversee the medical use of medical marijuana because they lacked a robust medical marijuana program.
“In some cases, it could be too late to stop them from using marijuana for a legitimate medical purpose,” Gershhoff said.
“But in other cases, there is a lack of oversight.”
Some states, such as Alaska and Hawaii, have approved medical use but not for medical reasons, while others, such a New Jersey state, are still waiting for state lawmakers to approve the bill.
If the administration’s new policy becomes law, medical marijuana would be permitted to be used for patients who have severe pain and suffering and are unable to get the prescription.
Patients with a severe, chronic condition would also be able to possess marijuana in a limited amount.
The president has also proposed lifting federal restrictions on the sale of marijuana to children.
“It is not the job of a federal government to regulate how states handle this issue,” Galshhoff added.
“I don’t think we want to end up with people who don’t have access to the drugs they need, or are unable or unwilling to get treatment for their pain.”
The policy could come as a blow to states like Colorado and Washington that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
These states have been the most successful in legalizing marijuana for nonmedical purposes, including in medical settings.
In 2015, Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.
“Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible in this new environment,” said Kristina Anderson, executive director of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Medical marijuana use in general, while a very valuable option, is not an appropriate substitute for any other medical treatment.”
Anderson said that in Colorado, the state has not seen any spike in violent crime related to marijuana use.
She said that medical marijuana use is also not a risk factor for suicide, but that she hopes the new policy would have some impact.
“As a physician, I’m concerned about the potential for violence, but also I’m very concerned about how this could impact our families and our community,” Anderson said.
But other advocates argue that medical cannabis could be an important tool in treating chronic pain, including for people who suffer from PTSD.
“There are thousands of patients that are using medical marijuana,” Gertz said.
A recent study by the University of Michigan Medical School found that people who used medical marijuana for at least six months had reduced PTSD symptoms compared to people who had used marijuana for less than three months