Despite recent scientific research, the federal government still class cannabis as having "no medical benefit".
A legislator in the state of Virginia has suggested that lawmakers should have mandatory drug tests, according to recent reports. The statement came after West Virginia joined a number of other states in proposing to drug test welfare recipients, despite past studies showing that this testing does nothing but waste taxpayer money. Therefore, the drug testing for lawmakers came as a counter-measure. Back in April 2015, the National Institute of Drug Abuse acknowledged that cannabis kills cancer cells as well as dramatically reducing the growth of new brain cancer cells. Despite this evidence, the federal government’s position on cannabis remained, listing it as a Schedule 1 drug with “no medical benefit”. Despite this course of action, or lack thereof, research into the use of cannabis continued.
For the past few years, a British company called GW Pharmaceuticals has been testing cannabis extracts, and now has gained clinical evidence that certain formulations reduce the mortality rate of people with a certain form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), that typically kills patients within two years. The results of the ‘phase 2 proof of concept study’ were announced Feb 7. With the use of cannabis in addition to the current medication given to GBM patients, called temozolomide, patients survival was increased by an average of 181 days. The CBD (cannabidiol)-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) treatment also produced an 83 percent one-year survival rate, compared with 53 percent for the non-cannabis patients.
Shawn Fluharty, the House Delegate, has now introduced a bill that requires legislators to be tested for drugs prior to each voting session, and those that fail will be prohibited from voting and denied pay. Fluharty said in an interview with WTRF, “I think the public expects us to adhere to the rules that we try to legislate. We have 134 people down here and we should be on their dime living within the standards that we implement. There’s no reason we shouldn’t do it.” The new bill hopes to catch users and abusers and remove them from public assistance, thereby saving substantial cash, according to the reports. However, the statement of saving money wasn’t quite as beneficial as it sounded. In Arizona, the Anti-Media reported, “one person of the 87,000 receiving benefits tested positive for drugs in the first three years after the program’s implementation, saving the state a whopping $560 — but with each drug test estimated by the ACLU to cost $42, the state literally spent over $3,650,000 to save $560.”
ThinkProgress also explained, “According to state data gathered by ThinkProgress, the seven states with existing programs — Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah — are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to ferret out very few drug users. The statistics show that applicants actually test positive at a lower rate than the drug use of the general population.” The national drug use rate is currently 9.4 percent, but “the rate of positive drug tests to total welfare applicants” was below 1 percent in all but one state — and its rate was 8.2 percent.
The report concludes that although testing welfare applicants have not proved to be productive or effective, “Fluharty’s plan to drug test lawmakers whose supposed job is based on service to the populace should, arguably, be standard practice for all politicians, especially considering their history.” This refers to politicians and law enforcement being caught trafficking huge amounts of drugs in recent years.
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