United States Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Don Young (R-AK) have introduced the House version of groundbreaking legislation that would legalize medical cannabis across the United States, while removing it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
A Senate version of the bill, referred to as the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, was filed earlier this month by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Dean Heller (R-NV).
“Drug policy reform is long overdue, but I am pleased that today it is an issue that unites both Democrats and Republicans,” said Congressman Cohen in a Tuesday press release. “The science has been in for a long time, and keeping marijuana on Schedule I—with heroin and LSD—is ludicrous. I am pleased to join with Congressman Don Young in introducing this important bill to bring the federal government in line with the science and the American people, respect states’ rights, remove the threat of federal prosecution in states with medical marijuana, and help our citizens access the treatments they need.”
If approved into law, H.R. 1538, the CARERS Act, would:
– Allow states to legalize medical cannabis without federal interference
– Allow interstate commerce of cannabidiol oils
– Reschedule cannabis to Schedule 2
– Allow banks to provide financial services to cannabis outlets
– Allow VA physicians to recommend medical cannabis to veterans.
– Eliminate essentially all barriers to cannabis research
“The topic of medical and recreational marijuana has always been an issue of state’ rights for me, a position based upon a strong belief in the 10th Amendment and the principals of federalism established by our Founders,” said Congressman Don Young. “The CARERS Act aims to protect states that have legalized medical marijuana and allow them to properly enforce their own laws. My position aims to reaffirm the states’ rights to determine the nature of criminal activity within their own jurisdictions, which I believe is critical for states to effectively legislate within their borders.”
Last year the House of Representatives passed an amendment to a federal spending bill – signed into law by President Obama – which prohibits the Department of Justice from interfering with state-sanctioned medical cannabis programs. This amendment, however, expires at the end of the fiscal year, making passage of the CARERS Act a vital step to protecting patients throughout the country.