A Republican Congressman Admitted to Using Medical Marijuana While in Office
Marijuana is illegal on the federal level, but that isn’t stopping one sitting federal lawmaker from admitting to using the drug for medical purposes.
Dana Rohrabacher, a GOP congressman from California, reportedly told a group of pro-marijuana activists on Tuesday that he recently used a topical wax-based treatment containing medical marijuana to treat pain caused by his arthritis. First reported by Cannabis Radio‘s Russ Belville, Rohrabacher, who said he suffers from shoulder pain after decades as a surfer, told a group from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML): “I tried it about two weeks ago, and it’s the first time…in a year-and-a-half that I’ve had a decent night’s sleep, because the arthritis pain was gone.”
Fortune reached out to Rohrabacher’s office for comment and we will update this story with any response. Medical marijuana is legal in Rohrabacher’s home state of California as well as in Washington, D.C. (even recreational pot is now legal to possess in the nation’s capital).
Of course, Rohrabacher’s remarks do not come as a complete surprise, considering that he is a noted supporter of Congress overhauling U.S. marijuana laws, having served as an author of last year’s successful amendment to federal law that keeps the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute marijuana operations in states where the drug is legal.
Medical marijuana is now legal in 24 U.S. states, while four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) and Washington, D.C. have also legalized recreational pot. A handful of additional states could also legalized the drug in some form in the coming months, with ballot initiatives likely in November in states such as California, Massachusetts, and Nevada, among others. Meanwhile, the Drug Enforcement Agency recently said it will make a decision on rescheduling marijuana in the next few months.
Recent estimates from industry research firm ArcView Market Research suggest that legal marijuana sales in the U.S. will hit $6.7 billion this year while expanding to nearly $22 billion by 2020.