6 Apr 2022


Federal Legislation on the Use of Marijuana

Format: APA

Academic level: University

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 4128

Pages: 12

Downloads: 0

Federal Legislation on the use of Marijuana

The abuse of marijuana is rampant in the United States for many years. Currently, marijuana is used in other parts of the world. It is legal in some countries when used for medical purposes and illegal in others. In June 2009, the subject before Congress was whether to proceed with the government arrangement of pot patients and the providers as per marijuana’s status as a schedule1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. The other issue was whether to slow down federal marijuana forbiddance to license the restorative utilization of cannabis use when prescribed by a doctor, particularly in states that have made therapeutic marijuana programs under state law. The primary aim of this paper is to consider the federal legislation concerning the use of medicinal cannabis.

My Position on the Federal Legislation on the use of Marijuana

My point of view concerning marijuana is that it is the illicit substance that most people across the globe commonly abuse because they find it affordable as compared to other drugs like heroine and LSD. The substance has adverse effects on people who use it on a regular basis even though most of the users claim that they feel better when they smoke marijuana. Some of the effects after consumption include rapid heartbeat, expansion of the eyes’ blood vessels making the eyes red. The heartbeat may increase by twenty to fifty in a minute or might even double in some cases. Smoking of marijuana can also result in a heart attack because it raises the blood pressure as well as the heart beat as it also reduces the capacity of the heart to carry oxygen. 

It’s time to jumpstart your paper!

Delegate your assignment to our experts and they will do the rest.

Get custom essay

Also important to note is Eddy’s (2010) point of view that smoking of marijuana can also result in drowsiness and thus, smokers of the substance are at a risk of falling or fainting in any place that can be dangerous. Therefore, regular exposure of the drug to individuals can result in cardiovascular effects. Additionally, Barton (2007) states that marijuana smoke can cause a serious cough just like the tobacco smoke, the toxic substances in its smoke can damage the lungs, and chronic bronchitis symptoms. As a result, most of the countries in the world have made the smoking of marijuana illegal by such numerous dangerous health effects on consumers.

Conversely, medical findings indicate that the use of marijuana can be helpful to some patients and thus, it can be legal to use the substance when a physician recommends. Some medications that are marijuana-based are used in the nausea treatment of patients who are on cancer chemotherapy. The treatment can also be given to the AIDs patients who have the wasting syndrome so as to stimulate their appetite. Most of the European countries and Canada use cannabidiol substance from marijuana when treating neuropathic and spasticity pain that patient who suffers from multiple sclerosis experiences. The same substance can also be useful in treating disorders that are as a result of a seizure. Researchers consider using the purified chemicals that are extracted from marijuana as the most promising therapeutic measure. 

On the other hand, there is a need for thorough medical examination of the effects of one’s health even in the case of the medical marijuana by individuals who have health issues. The thorough medical examination will ensure that the individuals with health issues as well as the aged whose baseline may have a higher vulnerability to their baseline are not put on marijuana medication. Such higher vulnerability to the baseline may be because of the cardiovascular risk issues that relate to the age of a patient.

As per the discussions in the paragraphs above, my point is that the smoking of marijuana has numerous and adverse effects to the human body that may result in the acquisition of the already mentioned diseases in this paper that are costly to treat. Therefore, there is a need for the federal government to have strict measures that regulate the sale of illicit marijuana to citizens with the aim of making profits. The strict measures by the government can quickly take effect if the responsible federal agencies play their role in the management of illicit drugs with efficacy. On the other hand, should arrest and raid the dispensary owners and doctors who take advantage of the laws that safeguard the sale of medicinal cannabis so as to sell other hard drugs. As such, it is just recommendable to use the medicinal marijuana because the scientists consider it as the purified chemicals from the plants of marijuana that provide therapeutic measures that are promising. It is also recommendable for the federal agencies to allow scientists to take part in the study that aims at extracting chemicals from the cannabis plants that they can use in the manufacture of medicinal cannabis. Therefore, smoking of the substance by the general public should remain illegal, but its use for medicinal purposes as per the recommendations of a physician should be legal.

Context of the Federal Legislation Regarding the Use of Marijuana

According to Eddy (2010), two bills were presented at the Congress, and they have also proposed the Congress. Among them was the Marijuana Act that was introduced in the United States as the Medical Marijuana Protection Act. The Acts chief aim was to permit the restorative utilization of cannabis in states that allow its use with physician’s prescription. Agent Barney Frank presented this bill in June 2009 (Galston & Dionne 2013). Additionally, in the Controlled Substances Act (ASC), the bill was expected to move marijuana from schedule I to schedule II and exempt the approved patients and medicinal pot suppliers who were acting according to the state's laws from federal prosecution. The second bill was Truth in Trials Act, which was presented in October 2009 by Representative Sam Farr. The primary intention of the Act was to make it workable for the therapeutic cannabis users and providers who were tied by the government court to uncover to the bench juries that the use of marijuana was medically related and lawful under the state law (Eddy, 2010).

Another significant issue to note is that the federal legislation places marijuana in schedule one just as drugs like cocaine and heroine (Eddy, 2010). The law considers the drug as having a higher perspective for abuse, and they still do not consider it as an acceptable substance for medicinal purposes. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) which the federal government uses to regulate illicit substances fails to recognize the differences between the uses of cannabis either for recreational or medicinal purposes (Galston& Dionne, 2013). The laws in the CSA apply on individuals who cultivate, distribute, or possess large portions of cannabis. The Act treats marijuana as illegal, and it places it in schedule one because of its abuse potentiality as well as its medicinal importance. As such, the federal government regards the drug as lacking any medicinal significance and also as very addictive. Therefore, the law prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana for purposes that are medicinal in nature. On the other hand, the law allows a doctor to recommend the drug’s use as per the First Amendment.

In their book, Galston& Dionne (2013) are of the opinion that the federal laws regulate the use of cannabis, and there are severe punishments for the guilty individuals because it considers the drug as very dangerous to human health. According to most of the cases that go to the federal courts, most judges rule that issues regarding the medicinal nature of the substance cannot be the ground for the defense for the consumption of cannabis(Eddy, 2010). On the other hand, the attorneys who are responsible for the defense always have the right to raise the medicinal merits of the substance in trials. It is important to note that the federal laws on hard drugs are applicable in the entire America. Most of the federal organizations have provided policy memorandums and guidelines on the conflict management between the state and federal laws about medicinal cannabis since the start of 2016(Eddy, 2010). The Justice Department gave the prosecutors its guidance memorandum regarding the enforcement of marijuana under the CSA. As such, the Justice Department has made it clear that the prosecution of the cases concerning the medicinal cannabis for the state is not the main concern. The memo has guidelines that are eight in number that prosecutors can use when it comes to the determination of the present main concerns of the federal enforcement. Auspiciously, most programs for the regulation of the medicinal marijuana demand similar guidelines that ensure that organizations that have licenses also meet the requirements. Such guidelines are:

The prevention of marijuana distribution to minors.

Stopping the generation of taxes from the marijuana sales and thus curbing on cartels and other criminal businesses.

Stopping the cannabis diversion from the states that legalizes it consumption under the laws of such a state to other states that prohibits it.

Preventing the activities of marijuana that are permitted by the state from being used as hoodwink so as to traffic other drugs that are illegal or carrying out activities that are illegal.

Stopping the use of guns or violence in the distribution and growing of marijuana.

Preventing driving immediately after smoking marijuana as well as the exacerbation of the public health effects that are adverse at also relate with the use of marijuana.

Stopping marijuana cultivation on the pieces of land that belong to the public as well as guaranteeing safety for the environment and the public that production of cannabis poses.

Preventing the possession of marijuana or its use on the property that belongs to the federal government.

The federal legislation provides two sentencing regulations that include guidelines for sentencing that the Commission for the United States for Sentencing enacted and the mandatory laws for sentencing that the Congress enacted (Barton, 2007). The creation of the Commission for sentencing took place in 1987 so as to regulate the disparities regarding sentencing within the jurisdiction. Eddy (2010) also writes that the present minimum sentences that must be adhered to were legislated in the drug bill of 1986. The guidelines for the federal sentencing consider the quantity of marijuana involved in the arrest as well as the accused past convictions. Additionally, not all the guidelines demand a jail term for the marijuana convictions though all the convicts are eligible for being imprisoned.

Galston and Dionne (2013) notes in their book that the legislation stipulates that a person who is sentenced to jail after being convicted must serve not less than eighty-five percent of the sentence in jail. A person is likely to serve more or fewer years in jail depending on the amount of marijuana the person will be having at the time of arrest as opposed to the alternative or probation sentencing (Barton, 2007). It is also imperative to note that in the case of the defendants with lots of convictions in the past, getting charged with the offenses of low-level may result in probation that goes for the whole sentence though without any requirement that pertains to the jail term. A person who is found with more than one kilogram of marijuana without any convictions in the past carries a six to twelve months sentence in prison with possibilities of alternative and probation sentencing (Eddy, 2010). Additionally, a person who is found with more than two and a half kilograms and does not have any past criminal record can be sentenced for at least six months in jail. If such a person has numerous convictions in the past, then he might be sentenced to two to three years in prison without a probation chance.

Expected Interest Groups and their Specific Arguments

The 2005 decision of a Supreme Court regarding the United States vs. Booker, the court’s ruling was that the guidelines for the federal sentencing are never mandatory but advisory(Barton, 2007). The guidelines further state that there are statutes that provide for the mandatory lowest sentences which were put into law after the final decision in the United States vs. Booker case. The law targets the offenses that involve people who are in possession of large quantities of marijuana. Individuals who cultivate one hundred plants or are in possession of one hundred kilograms must serve a minimum of five years in prison. Also, a defendant with a history of drug conviction felony will serve a minimum of ten years in jail if found with one hundred kilos of marijuana or cultivation of one hundred plants of cannabis (Galston & Dionne, 2013). Possession or cultivation of one thousand plants or one thousand pounds of cannabis triggers a jail term for ten years and a minimum of twenty years imprisonment if the defendant has a history of drug conviction felon.

Barton (2007) writes that the Congress demanded a truce in the federal battles on the medical marijuana in the years 2014 and 2015. That was the first change that the Congress initiated concerning the federal legislation that affects patients since the enactment of CSA in 1970 when cannabis was listed as a drug that is harmful to the human health without any medical use (Eddy, 2010). As such, Congress has approved amendments to the budget that bars the Department of Justice the funds that can be used in preventing states from putting into action the laws that are for the medicinal cannabis. Such restrictions on the enforcement of the federal laws are part of the funding bill of 2016 concerning the budget of Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS).

According to Eddy (2010), the amendments of the CJS are also called the Rohrabacher-Farr it was first signed into law in December of 2014 and also in December of 2015. The amendments of Rohrabacher-Farr prevents the federal raids, criminal prosecutions, arrests, the forfeiture lawsuits on civil assets, and prevention the direct interferences to the implementations that the state conducts (Barton, 2007). Additionally, the amendments make available some of the ways in which the present prisoners who use medicinal cannabis can implore for their release.

Galston and Dionne(2013) state that similar amendments that are bipartisan that gear toward limiting the enforcements that the federal government carries out in the states that support medicinal cannabis have been put on offer not less than seven times in the last twelve years but in vain. Lots of lobbying that is annually done during the Lobby Day and the yearly National Medicinal Cannabis Unity Conference indicates to the Congress members about the significance of medicinal marijuana to the people.

In the United States, fourteen states in the West have passed legislation that approves the use of pot for therapeutic purposes. As such, many patients treat various diseases by either smoking pot or using other marijuana preparations. In the meantime, the Government Drug Enforcement Administration does not acknowledge these state laws. As such, it proceeds to inspect and seizure, under state Act, medical marijuana providers and users in those nations and other places.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has indicated in its proposal that it considers making decisions on whether to alter the federal’s cannabis status as per the letter that was sent to the Congress (Barton, 2007). DEA believes rescheduling as an excellent move that can make it possible for scientists to research on the possible uses of cannabis. It is a move that that many people who advocate for the medicinal cannabis would appreciate. The letter to the Congress was signed by the individuals who hold key positions in DEA, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Health and Human Services Department. The letter has the medical and scientific appraisal and the HHSs scheduling commendation, and thus it gears towards rescheduling of the drug from schedule one to schedule two before the end of 2016. Though drugs that are within the second schedule are classified as drugs whose abuse is a higher possibility, they are accepted to be used as medicines during treatment. Such drugs that fall in the second schedule include cocaine, morphine, and oxycodone(Galston & Dionne, 2013).

In the recent years, researchers, journalists, concerned citizens, and policymakers at all management levels have argued the claims and the counter-claims of the medical marijuana. One of the claims of medical marijuana is that marijuana treats many diseases and as a result, it should be a legal drug in all states (Eddy, 2010). As a result, people who use marijuana for medical purposes should not be halted. Further, the proponents of medical marijuana assert that the federal government should permit various states to use marijuana only when it is prescribed as a medicine (Barton, 2007). The proponents further believe that medical marijuana acts to interfere with the federal drug approval process. On the contrary, the supporters of medical marijuana have their opinions regarding this issue. They believe that marijuana is harmful to people’s health and has no medical value (Galston & Dionne, 2013). Since marijuana is taken through smoking, they think smoking is not the proper route of administering a drug. As such, it is harmful to one’s health. Due to these counterclaims, the opponents believe that the states that allow medical marijuana do not send the right information to the citizens and lead to increased illicit substance use. 

Additionally, there have been improvements in the manner in which information disseminate to the public from the agencies that belong to the federal government regarding medicinal marijuana and the importance of making it legal (Galston & Dionne, 2013). Such agencies include the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA), the National Cancer Institute’s Cannabis and Cannabinoids, and Marijuana: Questions and Answers. Barriers to research are starting to fall as witnessed by lifting the ban on Public Health Service (PHS) by the National Drug Control Policy(Eddy, 2010). On the other hand, NIDA no longer prohibits the research centers from cultivating cannabis that they use for research which finally brings an end to the monopoly that NIDA had for a long duration. Such a move by NIDA allows research to be broad as various scientists from different organizations can come on board and carry out an effective study (Barton, 2007). The federal agencies have realized that medicinal cannabis is important to the lives of patients, and thus it is important that its use becomes legal. Conversely, the agencies also see the need for strict measures to be put in place to stop the trafficking of marijuana by the dispensary owners who may purport to be selling the medicinal ones yet they engage in the sale of the illegal marijuana.

The top most official who is responsible for enforcing laws in the United States has also emphasized the importance of the federal government to stop arrests and raids on the suppliers of medicinal cannabis (Galston& Dionne, 2013). The Attorney General, Eric Holder, suggests that the federal organizations should concentrate their focus on drug traffickers who use the laws for medicinal marijuana as their protection as they engage in the sale of the illicit drugs(Eddy, 2010). The Attorney General’s statement has been welcomed by various heads of the agencies that deal with the sale of medicinal marijuana as one which appreciates science and facts and one which is also geared towards helping patients.

Expected Interplay between Demanders and Suppliers, and Interest Groups and the Analysis of the Public Policy Environment

It is imperative to note that there will be patients who will be in need of the medicinal marijuana, and it will be significant for suppliers to meet their demand (Barton, 2007). Since the federal government has legislation that allows the supply of such medicines to patients, the interplay between the patients who are the demanders and the suppliers such as the dispensary owners and doctors will be mutual (Galston& Dionne, 2013). On the other hand, some of the suppliers will try to traffic other illicit drugs as they hide behind the law that allows for the supply of medicinal marijuana and tries to reach out to other demanders who are not in need of the medicinal cannabis. Therefore, the interplay between demanders and suppliers will be better especially if the deal involves the sale and purchase of the medicinal cannabis because there will be no existence of fear between the two parties.

Interest groups such as scientists, the American Legion, and other organizations that supply medicinal cannabis will inter-relate amicably. For instance, the American Legion passed a resolution that seeks to emphasize the need for a thorough research by scientists and doctors on the merits of marijuana chemicals (Galston& Dionne, 2013). Additionally, the organization wants an official acknowledgment concerning the medicinal benefits that marijuana has when it comes to the numerous ailments such as distressing brain injury and post-traumatic trauma. The move by the organization that belongs to the veteran soldiers can result in a good relationship between the organization, scientists, and the patients as it focuses on research. Interest groups such as organizations that cultivate cannabis for research will be free from raids and arrests by the federal law enforcers (Barton, 2007). As a result, it will be easier for the researchers to get samples that they can use in their researches, and they will be in a position to produce the medicinal substances in the right time and in a manner that meets the demands of the suppliers. On the other hand, the suppliers will have enough of the medicinal substances and make them available to the demanders at the appropriate time (Eddy, 2010). Therefore, the interplay between the suppliers, demanders, and the interest groups will be enhanced as a result of the federal law that allows patients to use medicinal cannabis as per the prescriptions of a doctor.

Regarding the Public Policy Environment, lots of emphases are on the federal agencies to have measures in place that protect the environment against any pollution that may be on the air, land, or water when it comes to the use of medicinal cannabis (Galston & Dionne, 2013). Additionally, the policy finds it essential to balance the economic and the environmental needs in a manner that the public policies neither hurt the environment or the economy of the state. There is a need for a strong economy and a safe environment, and therefore, laws must ensure that medicinal cannabis is given to the patients with the aim of improving the economy and the environment. Such agencies like NIDA have the responsibility of ensuring that the individuals who engage in the cultivation of cannabis do it for research purposes alone and not for profit making (Eddy, 2010). Protection of the environment from drug traffickers through the application of Public Policy Environment is important because it ensures that the people’s culture of drug use is eradicated, and the environment is given the utmost protection that it deserves (Barton, 2007). Also significant is that public participation in the implementation of the federal laws regarding the medicinal cannabis has been put into consideration to ensure that different points of view of the stakeholders are brought on board.

Strategic Policy to Enhance the Results of Public Policy Environment

The consumption of illicit drugs has been on the gradual rise since 2006 as per the data that is available in the database of NIDA as most students in colleges and universities smoke marijuana. The data further provides that four out of ten students in colleges smoke marijuana, and the number has severely increased in the last three decades (Galston & Dionne, 2013).Therefore, it is very necessary for strategic policies that can enhance the results of Public Policy Environment to be put in place. It is imperative that the federal laws that regulate the use of illicit drugs are in line with the Public Policy Environment. The two must work in line so as to ensure that there is no environmental pollution, and the ecosystem and waste management benefit the citizens. As such, the federal authority should work together with the authorities of the agencies who are responsible for environmental policy management.

The Public Policy Environment and the federal laws should ensure that the companies that are responsible for the production of the medicinal marijuana do not dispose of their wastes in a manner that pollutes the environment (Eddy, 2010).Management of such pollution will ensure that people are not infected with some of the diseases that may arise because of the pollution from the illicit drugs. As such, in the case of such wastes being disposed to the environment because of the carelessness of the producing industries then such industries should be held responsible and substantial penalties to be imposed upon them. Such responsibility can be imposed on such companies by the federal laws if there are measures that empower the Public Policy Environment so as to enable the Public Policy to manage the environment effectively. By doing so, the environment will be under protection as well as the living things.

Also important to note is that there should be agreements that are bilateral between the private sector and the environment and such arrangements should illustrate commitments to the protection of lives and the environment at large. Federal legislations that seek to protect life and the environment should mix with the Public Policy Environment in a manner that addresses the problems of the environment that are as a result of the use of the illicit drugs (Barton, 2007). Additionally, there should be numerous instruments within the public policy that can address every problem regarding a threat to life and the environment. A careful formulation of the policies is imperative so as to ensure that the framework under which they are formed is profitable even as the policies support the regulations that are efficient. Policies should also not overlap with each other so as to avoid the double costs of administration that will result in the increase of the implementation costs. The government must be at the forefront when it comes to the implementation of the environmental policies if it has to realize its policy objectives.

It is critical to carry out a continuous assessment of the public policy environment so as to make comparisons to the policies that have positive impacts and also have alternative policies that can replace the policies that had negative results (Eddy, 2010).The public policy environment should also have policymakers who have the capability to make decisions that are rational and that are beneficial when it comes to the eradication of the use of illicit drugs.

In conclusion, the proponents and the opponents of medical marijuana have their strong opinions regarding the subject. Thus, the debate of the matter does not seem to be approaching an answer. However, my stance on this topic is that marijuana should only be used when recommended by a doctor. The federal government is not supposed to prosecute medical marijuana providers and patients because marijuana has more benefits than harm to patients.


Barton, L. V. (2007).  Illegal drugs and governmental policies : Nova Publish

Eddy, M. (2010). Medical Marijuana : Analysis and Review of the State and Federal Policies Congressional Research Service.

Galston, W. A., & Dionne Jr, E. J. (2013). The new politics of marijuana legalization: Why opinion is changing.  Governance Studies at Brookings, Brookings/

Cite this page

Select style:


StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Federal Legislation on the Use of Marijuana.


Related essays

We post free essay examples for college on a regular basis. Stay in the know!

Vaccine Choice Canada Interest Group

Vaccine Choice Canada Interest Group Brief description of the group Vaccine Choice Canada, VCC, denotes Canada's leading anti-vaccination group. Initially, the anti-vaccination group was regarded as Vaccination...

Words: 588

Pages: 2

Views: 146

Regulation for Nursing Practice Staff Development Meeting

Describe the differences between a board of nursing and a professional nurse association. A board of nursing (BON) refers to a professional organization tasked with the responsibility of representing nurses in...

Words: 809

Pages: 3

Views: 191

Moral and Ethical Decision Making

Moral and Ethical Decision Making Healthcare is one of the institutions where technology had taken lead. With the emerging different kinds of diseases, technology had been put on the frontline to curb some of the...

Words: 576

Pages: 2

Views: 89

COVID-19 and Ethical Dilemmas on Nurses

Nurses are key players in the health care sector of a nation. They provide care and information to patients and occupy leadership positions in the health systems, hospitals, and other related organizations. However,...

Words: 1274

Pages: 5

Views: 77

Health Insurance and Reimbursement

There are as many as 5000 hospitals in the United States equipped to meet the health needs of a diversified population whenever they arise. The majority of the facilities offer medical and surgical care for...

Words: 1239

Pages: 4

Views: 438

Preventing Postoperative Wound Infections

Tesla Inc. is an American based multinational company dealing with clean energy and electric vehicles to transition the world into exploiting sustainable energy. The dream of developing an electric car was...

Words: 522

Pages: 5

Views: 357


Running out of time?

Entrust your assignment to proficient writers and receive TOP-quality paper before the deadline is over.