Congress Backs State Medical Marijuana Laws

The Republican-majority House of Representatives voted in favor of blocking the federal government from interfering with states that allow medical marijuana. The vote was 219-189, with many moderate and libertarian-minded Republicans joining most Democrats in passing the measure. This is an unusual break from party lines and suggests a fundamental shift in how Congress, and the public at large, views medical marijuana. This provision, included in a Justice Department budget, now heads to the Democrat-majority Senate. It’s likely the provision will remain in the bill at that point, as Democrats are largely in favor of medical marijuana legislation.

Medical Evidence for Medical Marijuana Benefits

Even though the medical marijuana industry is only regulated on a state-by-state level, there is a now a lot of research on end-of-life benefits, especially for patients with terminal cancer. The National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine Report, for example, have medical evidence for likely therapeutic benefit for nausea and vomiting:

Nearly one-quarter of patients who initially agreed to participate later declined citing bias against smoking, the harshness of smoke, and preference for dronabinol. Among the remaining 56 patients, 78% rated smoked marijuana very effective or moderately effective.

Given that we’re in the health insurance business, every year we see people getting diagnosed and treated for cancer. The nausea that people experience during chemotherapy is horrible. There is targeted medication that helps with the nausea, but some patients seem to have better results with medical marijuana. Kate Scannell, MD, co-director of the Kaiser-Permanente Northern California Ethics Department, said this to the San Francisco Chronicle:

In a society that has witnessed extensive positive experiences with medicinal marijuana, as long as it is safe and not proven to be ineffective, why shouldn’t seriously ill patients have access to it?

Indianapolis Needs to Address this Topic

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to have a loved one with terminal cancer, you want their quality of life to be the best it can be. If medical marijuana can help Hoosiers who are going through cancer treatment, then this topic should be addressed on a state level.

Sen. Karen Tallian has introduced Senate Bill 314 to legalize medical marijuana in Indianapolis, but this bill hasn’t gone anywhere this year. We are a conservative state, and local government can sometimes be the last to address hot-button topics like these — but if it’s your loved one, what would you do?

If you have any questions regarding medical marijuana, please contact me, Tony Nefouse, at (800) 846-8615 and we can discuss further.

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