State cannabis laws are scattershot. That’s why we need federal legislation

A Letter to the Editor for the San Francisco Chronicle by Tony Bowles

I recently attended the Americans for Safe Access Medical Cannabis Academy and Hill Day conference, which highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive medical cannabis legislation.

Despite its legalization in 38 states, the District of Columbia and three territories, medical cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. This creates numerous challenges, including legal concerns, limited insurance coverage and discrimination. Congress must take immediate action to pass federal medical cannabis legislation.

Americans for Safe Access suggests establishing an Office of Medical Cannabis to regulate production and ensure patient access. It also advocates for recognizing cannabis as a Schedule VI substance, acknowledging its medical value. Such legislation could significantly improve the lives of countless patients in need.

Inconsistencies in state laws result in unequal patient care and access. 

The recent State of the States report by Americans for Safe Access highlights these disparities, emphasizing the need for federal oversight and coordination.

Federal prohibition leads to travel restrictions, limited access near educational institutions and employer discrimination. The federal government must establish safety standards, protect patients’ rights and promote further research. 

We need comprehensive federal legislation to bridge the gaps in medical cannabis laws nationwide. This will establish consistency, enhance patient care and remove unnecessary obstacles. 

Tony Bowles, Vallejo