Rohrabacher/Leahy language is detrimental to public health
Imagine if Big Pharma developed a new drug they claimed would cure cancer, but instead of providing proof of its efficacy, they demanded a stamp of approval from Congress and gave generously to Congressional political races.
There would be widespread outrage, and a demand for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to step in and do its job.
So why has the multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry — selling marijuana-infused candies, sodas and other foods — been given such a pass?
The Rohrabacher/Leahy Amendment, a pesky congressional rider protecting the industry from FDA enforcement passed under the guise of protecting medical marijuana patients, prevents much action by the government.
The FDA relies on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take enforcement action when a company refuses to comply with the terms of an FDA warning letter. Because courts have interpreted the Rohrabacher Amendment broadly to prohibit the DOJ from taking any enforcement action, the FDA is highly limited in what it can do. In reality, the Rohrabacher/Leahy Amendment has enabled the growth of a massive, addiction-for-profit industry that is rapidly becoming this generation’s Big Tobacco.
No one wants to arrest and imprison seriously ill people. Everyone is in favor of responsible research to find new medicines that will help those who are suffering. But let’s also be honest about what’s really happening: Companies that are selling high-potency marijuana gummy bears and lollipops are not interested in medicine, they are interested in marketing kid-friendly products to hook the next generation of lifelong customers.
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