Politics June 19, 2018
Terminally ill patients now have more options for treatment.
Since January, social media has picked up momentum about the Right to Try movement (and later Act) using #RightToTry hashtag on Twitter.
The Right to Try Act legalizes experimental treatment for terminally ill patients. This means that people may choose to receive treatments that have not been fully approved by the FDA. Some treatments could give people a better chance of staying alive with their loved ones. Or, the treatments may do nothing at all or even worsen the situation. Nonetheless, it seems that people want to use any chance they have to live longer.
President Trump began endorsement back in January. This was the first instance of the POTUS discussing the idea.
We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives
And then the President continued by saying,
People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the ‘right to try.’”
What Trump means exactly is something we may never know, ut, what we do know is that the act passed.
H.R. 5247 – Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act passed the House 267-149
— House Press Gallery (@HouseDailyPress) March 22, 2018
The bill originally failed on March 13, 2018 with 182 to 233. This bill was quite bipartisan with Democrats favoring the bill (181 of the 182 yea votes) and Republicans opposing it (232 of 233 nay votes).
Over a week later, the tides had turned.
On March 21, 2018, Congress passed H.R. 5247. The bill passed with 267 to 149. Congress showed a significant change of heart. This time, there was more overlap about the bill but still demonstrated bipartisan antics to some degree. Different than before, Republicans mostly favored the bill (232 out of 267) and Democrats mostly opposed the bill (147 of 149).
However, later on May 22, 2018, the bill was passed with 250 to 169, and the Right to Try Act was created. Again, the bill was supported by mostly Republicans (228 out of 250) and mostly opposed by Democrats (169 voted no and 22 voted aye).
President Trump signed the bill on May 30, 2018.
As the news spread, speculation arose about the future implications of this Act on another drug: marijuana.
Lots of people who could benefit that don’t live in “legal” states. pic.twitter.com/ZPLSGUTe8P
— Pottles™ (@MyPottles) May 30, 2018
Although marijuana is certainly not an experimental treatment drug, “weed” is still controversial.
Nine states have legalized recreational marijuana, while 29 states have legalized medicinal marijuana.
Since Trump has now allowed terminally ill patients to receive experimental treatments, where does marijuana stand amidst this?
For example, if someone is dying in, let’s say, Texas (where marijuana is illegal), will they be able to receive treatment via marijuana? It’s very plausible that the patient may want to die peacefully with some Bob Marley herb instead of risking an unapproved treatment that may kill them even faster. And, according to the DEA, “no death from overdose of marijuana has been reported.”
Does marijuana give you a higher risk of dying? Nope. Are the risks of already dying quite high? Sadly, yes. The thought of dying peacefully is an ideal way to die and marijuana may be able to give people that option. And, if patients in state where marijuana is illegal start to inquire for treatment, perhaps it will set off a legalization domino effect.
While the medicinal properties of “pot” are thoroughly known, some people still oppose marijuana to be used medically. Yet, with this new Act, will and can marijuana become the exception?
Time will only tell.
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