Gabbard says the American Legion is right and her bill, HR 1227, "would help veterans get the treatment they need."
Medical marijuana is still illegal in the US, though several states (29 states and DC) have laws on the books that legalize it within their own jurisdictions. Gabbard wants to change this with her bill, "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017." (HR 1227)
HR 1227 removes marijuana from Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act. The Schedule I classification not only makes it illegal for recreational and medicinal use, it also places heavy restrictions on researching the medical benefits of cannabis.
For instance, in order to comply with federal restrictions, researchers have to source their samples from one place: The University of Mississippi. This gives the university a monopoly over the cultivation of cannabis for research purposes.
"For nearly 90 years, the federal government has deliberately hindered medical research into therapeutic aspects of cannabis, and veterans struggling with PTSD and TBI today are suffering because of this misguided policy," writes Joe Plenzler, director of media relations for the American Legion national headquarters in Washington, D.C.
It is not just veterans, however. Americans who suffer from a variety of medical issues -- from epilepsy to chronic pain to cancer treatment -- could potentially benefit from the decriminalization of cannabis.
HR 1227 was introduced back in February. Gabbard sponsored the bill along with Republican US Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.). There are 10 additional cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.
However, despite the bipartisan support, the bill is currently stalled in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, where it has been since March 16.