Another Republican congressman is speaking out for the medical benefits of marijuana and endorsing states’ rights to set their own cannabis laws.
Just one problem: He voted against every marijuana law reform amendment that has come to the floor of the U.S. House during the time he has served in Congress.
“There is a good, strong argument for medical marijuana. There are people suffering that it could help,” Congressman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) told The Independent, a local news outlet in his district. He went on to describe cannabis as “a state issue,” according to reporter Amy Knapp.
Gibbs even opposed an amendment to prevent federal interference with state laws that allow children suffering from severe epilepsy to access non-psychoactive CBD medical cannabis preparations.
He voted against an amendment to protect all state marijuana laws from Justice Department intervention.
And while he voted against an amendment to allow state-legal marijuana business to access banks, on the same day he supported a measure to block Obama administration guidance aimed at encouraging financial services providers to work with the cannabis industry.
Gibbs’s state of Ohio enacted a medical cannabis law last year, and there haven’t been any House floor votes on marijuana since then. It remains to be seen if the fact that his constituents will now be directly impacted by potential federal interference with state cannabis laws will change how he votes on related amendments in the future.
In the interview with The Independent, Gibbs said that he sees the medical benefits of marijuana but asked, “If it is truly medicinal, why can it not be dispensed by a pharmacist?”
But to date, the congressman hasn’t supported any legislation to change marijuana’s status under federal law to allow for its formal prescription.
He also suggested that while legal medical cannabis could potentially generate revenue, he believes the costs could outweigh the benefits, seeming to suggest that it might lead to increased use of other drugs.
“The costs are huge,” he told the local new outlet. “Drug problems are real. So many people are addicted to meth, heroin. It’s a big, huge cost to society.”
A Quinnipiac University poll found last year that Ohio voters support medical cannabis by a margin of 90 percent in favor to 9 percent against. They support full marijuana legalization, 52 percent to 45 percent, the survey found.
Gibbs’s communications director and legislative director did not respond to MassRoots’s request for comment on this story.