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Congress Should Reclassify Marijuana To Help Kids With Cancer, Lawmaker Testifies

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Marijuana’s current Schedule I status under federal law is a cause of unnecessary distress and suffering for families of children with cancer, a congresswoman testified on Friday.

“As the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, I can tell you there is nothing worse than watching your child in pain,” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) said. “The unfortunate reality is that our outdated marijuana laws cause chronically ill children to suffer from unbearable bouts of pain every day.”

The lawmaker told the story of a 10-year-old girl from her district who has used medical cannabis to find relief from a rare form of brain cancer.

“Over the last four years, Madison has had multiple major surgeries, severe bouts of pain, and very difficult treatments,” Luria said during a Judiciary Committee member day hearing at which lawmakers could testify about their legislative interests and priorities under the panel’s jurisdiction. “After numerous treatments, Madison’s family began to experiment with cannabis products to make life more bearable for her. And thankfully, it worked! Madison is now able to go to school, play with friends, and do things that most 10-year-old girls do.”

“It defies logic, science, and compassion that marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin.”

“As a mother, I will not stand on the sidelines while our outdated marijuana laws cause an undue hardship on our children and our families,” she said.

Luria is cosponsoring several bills to change federal marijuana laws, her office noted in a press release.

“Our archaic medical marijuana policies prevent Madison from receiving her treatment on a legal basis,” she said during the hearing. “Since cannabis is a Schedule I drug, Madison’s mother could be arrested, have her property seized, or lose her daughter to child protective services. By doing what is best for her daughter, Madison’s mother is risking everything. But she is doing exactly what any mother would do for her child.”

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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