Senators Introduce Historic Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana
March 11th, 2015
Policy, Top Story
A bipartisan group of senators introduced an expansive bill on Tuesday that would legalize medical marijuana across the country.
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (“CARERS”) that would end federal actions against state-legal medical marijuana programs and open up opportunities for medical research in the space.
“We need policies that empower states to legalize medical marijuana if they so choose – recognizing that there are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows,” Booker told reporters at a press conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill. “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.”
The proposed bill would let states decide whether or not to legalize medical marijuana; reschedule the drug from a Schedule I to a Schedule II/III Controlled Substance; exclude cannabidiol from the definition of marijuana given its lack of psychoactive effects; open up banking access to the sector; and, opens up the door for research by eliminating restrictions on the drug’s use in research activities.
The move follows similar actions in the House earlier this year when Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis introduced two bills that would legalize and tax marijuana at the federal level. While the senate’s bill is focused on medical marijuana, the congressional bills expanded their focus to include recreational marijuana and even goes so far as to create a tax framework for the drug.
Watch the CARERS press conference here:
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