Lawmakers Introduce First-Ever Senate Measure Authorizing Medical Marijuana

 Communications Director
March 12, 2015 12:00 PM

"Today we join together to say enough is enough"

Washington, DC: Members of the US Senate for the first time have introduced legislation to amend the classification and regulation of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

On Tuesday, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which permits qualified patients, doctors, and businesses to engage in state-sanctioned behavior involving the production, sale, and use of medical cannabis without fear of federal prosecution. It states, "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this title relating to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State law relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, laboratory testing, or delivery of medical marihuana."

Although Congress enacted spending legislation in December seeking to similarly halt the Justice Department from interfering in state-sanctioned medical marijuana operations, that appropriation measure is set to expire in September.

Separate provisions in the Senate proposal reschedule marijuana at the federal level and remove the compound cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act altogether. Additional provisions in the bill allow for financial institutions to legally provide services to medical marijuana businesses, permit VA doctors to authorize medical cannabis, and remove existing bureaucratic barriers that limit investigators from clinically studying the plant's safety and therapeutic efficacy.

"Our federal government has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence, and compassion" in regard to its marijuana policies, Sen. Booker stated at a press conference. "Today we join together to say enough is enough."

While numerous House measures have previously been introduced to amend federal marijuana policy, members of the US Senate have never before considered such reforms.

Commenting on the new measure, NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri said: "It is indicative of how far the movement to reform our nation's failed marijuana policies has come when a Republican presidential hopeful partners with two high profile Democrats to undo the war on cannabis consumers. While we ultimately believe marijuana should be descheduled from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, this legislation provides an excellent opportunity for Senate leaders to begin engaging in this broader discussion."

For more information about this measure, please visit NORML's 'Take Action Center' here:http://www.norml.org/act or contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.


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