Senators Introduce Monumental Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana at Federal Level

Politics
Senators Introduce Monumental Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana at Federal Level

A group of bipartisan senators introduced an expansive Senate bill Tuesday that would legalize marijuana and effectively end the federal war on cannabis.

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) stood together at a press conference to introduce the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would end federal actions against state-legal medical marijuana programs and open up opportunities for further medical research.

“Doctors and patients deserve federal laws that are fair and compassionate, and states should be able to set their own medical marijuana policies without federal interference,” said Sen. Booker. “I am thankful to Senators Gillibrand and Paul as well as the Drug Policy Alliance for their hard work on this common-sense bill to make medical marijuana accessible to the millions of Americans who could benefit from it.”

Today, we join together to say: enough is enough,” added Booker.

The senators were joined by several patients voicing their need for medical cannabis — a mother of an epileptic child, a woman suffering from insomnia, a multiple sclerosis patient, and a war veteran treating his depression with marijuana.

“All elected officials, state and federal, need to approve comprehensive medical cannabis legislation immediately,” said Navy veteran T.J. Thompson.

The bill proposes a massive list of changes to the way marijuana is legally treated. It starts by ending federal raids and other forms of interference towards state medical marijuana programs. It wouldn’t force all states to adopt medical marijuana, but instead would protect both states looking into as well as those that already have it in place.

Furthermore, it would reclassify marijuana as Schedule II or III, while completely declassifying low-THC strains rich in the medically effective compound cannabidiol, or CBD. Doing so would also lift current restrictions on studying cannabis, as the government cannot federally fund research of a Schedule I drug.

The bill would also allow full banking access for marijuana businesses, as well as ease access for war veterans to obtain medical cannabis.

The announcement of such sweeping legislation has many legalization advocates applauding the seantors’ efforts.

“Doctors and patients deserve federal laws that are fair and compassionate, and states should be able to set their own medical marijuana policies without federal interference,” said Dan Riffle, the director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement. “I am thankful to Senators Gillibrand and Paul as well as the Drug Policy Alliance for their hard work on this common-sense bill to make medical marijuana accessible to the millions of Americans who could benefit from it.”

I look forward to working with these Senators in this effort and applaud the introduction of this bill. I am hopeful that with continued growing support, we can make real traction on modernizing our marijuana laws over the next two years, and respect the will of the voters in 23 states and the District of Columbia,” said Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who also introduced a marijuana bill to the House of Representatives, in a statement.

Watch the entire press conference below.

Story by Oscar Pascual at Smell The Truth. Be sure to check out Smell The Truth for all the latest and greatest cannabis news.