Senator Hatch introduces bill that would allow research into medical marijuana

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, took to the Senate Floor in Washington D.C. Wednesday to introduce a bill that would allow research into medical marijuana.

He did so with a little humor

“Mr. President, it’s ‘high’ time to address research into medical marijuana,” Hatch said during his speech. “Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without property delving into the ‘weeds’ on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration and quality of medical marijuana.”

All puns aside, Sen. Hatch said his Marijuana Effectiveness Drug Studies (MEDS) Act—has the potential to benefit millions of Americans suffering from medical conditions like cancer, severe epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It updates the laws for the 21st Century,” he explained, and makes it possible to conduct research on possible medicinal benefits of marijuana.

Hatch did give the disclaimer several times that while he wants to see studies on marijuana for medicinal use, he doesn’t support recreational marijuana.

Those in the medical marijuana community said they applaud the conversation on the topic.

“It's a positive response,” said Christine Stenquist, president of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE).

She said Utah's senior senator has come a long way in the conversation, but it doesn’t quite go far enough, fast enough.

“What he's talking about is years, if not decades, away from us finding out what cannabis can do for different and certain conditions,” she said.

Stenquist said she’s a brain tumor patient who suffers from a nerve condition, and she would like to see patient access to medical marijuana rather than just studies.

Still, she said she’s supportive of the research that Hatch said could make a huge difference in America’s health care.

“I strongly support research into the medicinal benefits of marijuana,” Hatch said. “I remain committed to helping patients find the help they need.”