‘High Time’: Hatch Introduces Medical Marijuana Bill, Unleashes Pot Puns

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, president pro tempore of the Senate, arrives in a secure area as Donald Trump Jr., is interviewed behind closed doors by Senate Judiciary Committee staff investigating the meddling and possible Russian links to President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Sen. Hatch is a senior member of the Judiciary Committee. Trump Jr. released a series of emails in July that detailed preparations for a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and others where he was expecting to get damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

While he’s made it clear in the past that he is not an advocate of recreational marijuana use, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced new medical marijuana research legislation Wednesday in a bill that would make it easier to conduct research on the plant for medical use.

But his statement introducing the roll-out of the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 wasn’t as dry as the bill’s title sounds.

It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana,” Hatch said in a statement introducing the bill and its co-sponsors, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).

“To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act,” he said.

Hatch will introduce the bill on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. He said he’s bringing the legislation forward because the country hasn’t had the chance to properly delve “into the weeds” on the effectiveness of marijuana as medical treatment.

“I urge my colleagues to join Senator Schatz and me in our joint effort to help thousands of Americans suffering from a wide-range of diseases and disorders,” he said. “In a Washington at war with itself, I have high hopes that this bipartisan initiative can be a kumbaya moment for both parties.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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