U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis amendments provide alternatives to opioid use

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Washington, June 12, 2018 | comments

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., will introduce amendments to the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act (SITSA) today in the Committee on Rules. His amendments aim to provide veterans with greater access to medical marijuana and prevent actions that could restrict consumer access to kratom. 

“The opioid epidemic has affected so many in the U.S., if not directly, indirectly through friends and family. Along with improving access to mental health services, drug abuse treatment, and prevention programs, we need to improve access to alternative pain relief options that work.  For some, kratom, a cousin of the coffee plant, can be such an alternative.  For others, including many veterans, medical marijuana can help manage pain without resorting to more dangerous and addictive prescription opioids. Kratom and medical marijuana should be legal and available to our veterans,” said Polis.

Polis is the lead sponsor of the amendment to require the Veterans Affairs (VA) to study medicinal marijuana as an alternative treatment option to prescription opioids for veterans. This amendment resembles a bill called the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which Polis co-sponsors. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act would authorize the VA to study medical cannabis.

Read the text of the amendment here.

Polis is the co-sponsor of the amendment to remove restrictions on kratom, a natural alternative to opioids. As written, the SITSA bill would essentially ban kratom, but Polis’s amendment would reverse that move. Late last year, Polis called for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift its public health warning on kratom. In a bipartisan letter, Polis outlined the case for kratom to the FDA. 

Read the text of the letter here.

About Polis:

Polis, along with three other members of Congress, launched the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus in 2017.  The Caucus is a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.

Polis has been a longtime advocate for updating federal marijuana policy.  He has introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.  This bill would remove marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug; transition marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulate marijuana like alcohol by inserting it into the section of the U.S. Code that governs “intoxicating liquors.”  Last April, Polis drafted an article urging President Trump to leave marijuana alone.  

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