The Washington Post

GOP congressman pushes for medical marijuana

A conservative Republican is leading an effort to legalize medical marijuana.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) told the Loop Tuesday he surprised some colleagues when he told them he was the author of a new marijuana bill, but he hopes having a Republican at the helm will “make people take another look at it.”

It’s not a new position for Griffith, who staked this position as Majority Leader in the Virginia legislature, and even drafted legislation in 2010 that swiftly died in the House of Delegates.

Now as a member of Congress, Griffith has taken this libertarian view to a larger stage, introducing LUMMA, the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act. Griffith’s bill would ensure states could make their own decisions about medical marijuana usage without the federal government stepping in. His bill would also reclassify marijuana under the Justice Department’s controlled substances lists, so the drug wouldn’t be linked with harder drugs, such as heroin.

“I am saying if we can use [opioids], why the fear of using [marijuana] for legit medicinal purpose?” Griffith said.

Public support for medical marijuana use is overwhelming. A CNN/ORC poll in January found 88 percent of American adults supports legalizing the drug for medical reasons.

Griffith still thinks legalizing marijuana fully, so just anyone can go down to “Billy Bob’s marijuana shop,” is “irresponsible,” he said.

But there has also been a sea change in public opinion on legalizing marijuana for recreational use, as Colorado and Washington state did. A Pew Research Center study in February found 54 percent support making the drug legal, compared with 2010 when 41 percent supported marijuana legalization.

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.