(From the Activist Ammunition section in Volume 20, No. 13 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States — CARERS — Act is the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress.
It was introduced last month by Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and just last week in the House by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK).
The CARERS Act will do the following:
- Allow states to legalize marijuana for medical use without federal interference
- Permit interstate commerce in cannabidiol (CBD) oils
- Reschedule marijuana to schedule II (thus acknowledging marijuana has medicinal value and making marijuana research far easier)
- Allow banks to provide checking accounts and other financial services to marijuana dispensaries
- Allow Veterans Administration physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans
- Eliminate barriers to medical marijuana research
“Reforming our nation’s failed drug policies is one of the few issues Democrats and Republicans can agree on,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “The tide is quickly turning against marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs in general.”
This seems to be a bill whose time has come. Polls show roughly three-quarters of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical use. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes. Twelve states have laws on the books or are about to be signed into law by their governors regulating cannabidiol (CBD) oils, a non-psychotropic component of medical marijuana which some parents are utilizing to treat their children’s seizures. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for non-medical use.
“This legislation is a game-changer,” said Michael Collins, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It is worth noting that senators with a national profile are championing this issue. Ending the war on medical marijuana is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”
The Drug Policy Alliance has created a web page where supporters of the bill can send an email to their senators urging them to cosponsor it.