Elizabeth Warren Wants A Marijuana Study: Is It Another Step Forward For The Legalization Of Pot?

America might be one step closer to the legalization of pot. Senator Elizabeth Warren wants the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a marijuana study. Warren’s purpose of the marijuana study is to see whether or not pot can be used as an alternative to painkillers.

Headlines and Global News reported that the popular Massachusetts’ senator is asking that the CDC start research on cannabis.

After the CDC released a briefing detailing the amount of deaths due to opioid painkillers from 2010-2014, it became clear to Sen. Warren that there must be a better way to deal with pain. The statistic which stood out the most to her was the 47,055 people who died from an overdose of opioid painkillers in 2014. It was a 6.5 percent increase from 2013.

With the addiction to opioid painkillers seemingly on the rise, Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants other, far less addictive alternatives considered when dealing with extreme pain. The progressive senator believes that marijuana could be the answer to the country’s problem regarding opioid painkiller addiction.

In a letter Sen. Warren wrote to CDC head Thomas Frieden, she built a powerful argument supporting her request for the marijuana study.

“Our country is faced with an opioid epidemic that only continues to grow at an alarming pace. Opioid abuse is a national concern and warrants swift and immediate action.”

As Sen. Warren continues, she states that, “prescription painkillers are at the center of this epidemic.” She goes on to cite that “despite representing only five percent of the global population, Americans consume 75 percent of opioid medications in the world.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren is the latest of prominent political figures who believe that medical marijuana could be beneficial. The website MPP.org released a list comprised of the presidential candidates and their stance on medical marijuana and legalized pot for adult usage.

Of the current candidates on the campaign trail, only Bernie Sanders is in favor of the overall legalization of marijuana. Hillary Clinton is for the use of medical marijuana, while Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich believe that the onus should be on the state to decide the legalization of medical marijuana and recreational pot use. Hillary Clinton has stated as follows.

“I think that states are the laboratories of democracy, and four states have already taken action to legalize, and it will be important that other states and the federal government take account of how that’s being done, what we learn from what they’re doing. I think that the states moving forward is appropriate and I think the federal government has to move to make this more available for research that they can then distribute to interested people across our country.”

The findings of Sen. Warren’s proposed marijuana study could change the minds of those who are in opposition of legalized pot. If it can be proven by the CDC that medical marijuana is a suitable alternative to opioid painkillers, that would open the doors for more dialogue regarding cannabis usage.

There have been bills brought before congress regarding the legalization of medical marijuana nationwide. Four states, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, have legalized medical marijuana and pot for recreational use. Washington, D.C., has also made marijuana legal. There is a total of 23 states which has legalized medical marijuana, though most the states have rigid requirements in place for users to qualify for medical cards making medical marijuana usage permissible.

Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has spoken out in favor of medical marijuana and is a proponent for more marijuana studies. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Many of the states which do not have the legalization of pot of any usage hand out stiff penalties for those caught with cannabis in their possession. The citizens in these states could benefit from the knowledge that Senator Warren wants the CDC to conduct a marijuana story. Until a marijuana study is complete, state lawmakers will not fully be aware of how marijuana, primarily medical marijuana, could be useful as a painkiller alternative. For now, many of the states who prohibit marijuana are allowed to levy stiff punishment to pot users, regardless of any medical conditions.

A report in the Denver Post regarding Raymond and Amelia Schwab provides some evidence. Raymond Schwab is a Kansas a veteran who suffers from PTSD. He was using marijuana to cope with the pain and side effects of post traumatic stress disorder. Once he came to the belief that moving to Colorado would help him because marijuana usage is legal in the state, the state of Kansas caught wind of his decision and took action by taking custody of his children. If benefits from a marijuana study were available at the time, it would strengthen Schwab’s case of no wrongdoing.

“They’re basically using my kids as a pawn to take away freedoms I fought for. It’s a horrible position to put me in.”

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren wants the CDC to conduct a marijuana study to see if pot can be used as an alternative to opioid painkillers. Depending on the CDC’s findings, the path to the legalization of national marijuana usage could be in the balance. Sometimes, it takes conversation from the country’s most powerful politicians to get things moving forward.

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]