Contemporary Legislative Issue Analysis
- What is the current legislative or regulatory issue, and why is it being debated?
The current legislative issue is research on marijuana. H.R.5657 – Medical Marijuana Research Act seeks to establish a registration process that facilitates research on medical marijuana. It directs the Drug Enforcement Administration to register medical practitioners who conduct research on medical marijuana, and those who produce, distribute and supply marijuana for medical research reasons. In addition, the legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Service, through the National Institute of Drug Abuse Drug Supply Program, to produce marijuana for medical research and supply them to researchers through state-authorized programs (Congress.gov, 2022). Contemporary Legislative Issue Analysis Essay Sample
- Who is most affected by the legislation?
The most affected by the legislation are medical marijuana researchers. The legislation ensures that they have an authorized and reliable supply of marijuana for use in research activities. With the legislation being enacted, the researchers would be better able to explore the potential utility of marijuana for different medical conditions and potential adverse health effects from using marijuana (Corva & Meisel, 2021).
- What are the current socioeconomic, political, cultural, and ethical issues surrounding this topic?
The legislation presents a legal channel for making marijuana available to medical marijuana researchers. This can help to improve the economic situation of marijuana growers who would be legally permitted to trade marijuana. Also, it would improve political support for the government as it indicates a proactive approach to understanding how marijuana use affects the public. In addition, it would encourage a marijuana culture that would increase use as medicine, recreational drug and entheogen. Besides that, the legislation marks a move towards legalizing marijuana use if research shows that it has beneficial medical effects, but ethical questions arise on whether it would maintain the definition as a Schedule I drug, and if so then would it be acceptable for use even under medical supervision (Corva & Meisel, 2021).
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- Who are the stakeholders?
The stakeholders in the legislation are the government and medical marijuana researchers. The government seeks to control access to marijuana while the medical marijuana researchers seek to have a legal, reliable supply of marijuana for research purposes (Corva & Meisel, 2021).
- What are the positions of professional health care organizations (ANA, AHA, AMA), consumers, and the major political parties on the issue?
Professional health care organizations are very supportive of the issue as they look at the potential medical uses of marijuana. They understand that while there can be negative side effects of marijuana, continued research can find ways of leveraging the benefits while minimizing the harms. For instance, smoking marijuana helps to relieve pain but increases the risk of poor pregnancy, bacterial pneumonia, lung damage, cancer, among others. Vaporizing marijuana provides the same therapeutic benefits of smoking marijuana but does not have the same negative consequences. The consumers are similarly supportive of the legislation as it allows for research to ensure that they get the benefits even as the negatives are minimized. Also, major political parties support the issue because continued research is necessary for ensuring safe marijuana use (Corva & Meisel, 2021).
- What are the implications of the policy issue for nursing?
The policy issue provides an opportunity for nurses to engage in medical marijuana research activities. The legislation ensures that adequate amounts of marijuana can be availed for research purposes so that nurses can also engage in the research activities (Corva & Meisel, 2021).
Congress.gov (2022). All Information (Except Text) for H.R.5657 – Medical Marijuana Research Act. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5657/all-info?r=13&s=6
Corva, D., & Meisel, J. S. (Eds.) (2021). The Routledge Handbook of Post-Prohibition Cannabis Research. Taylor & Francis.