While 37 states have approved medical marijuana to treat dozens of health conditions, federal law continues to block the clinical research needed to support or debunk the general efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for certain illnesses, much less study the benefits of specific products, reports the Courthouse News Service. As a growing number of Americans consume cannabis each year for therapeutic reasons, understanding long-term and short-term benefits — and risks — becomes increasingly urgent as some researchers have resorted to creative observational studies and case studies from hospital patients to try to keep scientific knowledge at pace with the widespread use of cannabis.
Bureaucratic federal hurdles around cannabis are affecting lawyers as well, with Bloomberg News reporting that ethical and legal snags abound for lawyers representing cannabis industry clients in the growing number of states where weed is legal, requiring extra due diligence to ensure compliance. And, according to the Washington Post, these same illegal operators in California are currently tapping into fire hydrants and drilling unauthorized water wells, threatening the water supply for residents during a severe drought in favor of their marijuana crops. In 2020, Narcotics Bureau detectives identified 150 illegal outdoor marijuana growing operations in the Antelope Valley. This year, investigators conducted reconnaissance flights and identified more than 500.