As more states continue to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use, a small group of U.S. Senators are making sure that the federal government does not interfere with that progress. Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Al Franken (D-Minnesota) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) re-introduced the bipartisan CARERS Act (Compassionate Access Research and Respect the States) which was first introduced in 2015.
The new CARERS act, unlike the previous version, wont ask the federal government to reschedule marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2. Instead, this bill would would protect medical marijuana users from federal prosecution, ease restrictions on medical marijuana research, and allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans.
The bill, if passed, would directly contradict the stance of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who recently sent a letter to Congress asking them to undo all protections on medical marijuana providers.
If Sessions wish were to be granted, any person involved in providing patients with medical marijuana could be subject to federal prosecution. Sessions has made it clear that he doesn’t believe marijuana is medicine in any way shape or form, and probably will not change his opinion any time soon.
For the Senators behind the CARERS act, the goal is simple: Give patients access to the medicine they deem best for themselves.
As Sen. Cory Booker previously stated, “There are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows, and choosing to ignore the medical value of marijuana defies common sense and the scientific evidence.”
With a Republican majority in Congress, it is unlikely that the CARERS act will be passed into law. It is important and exciting though that there is a group of leaders in this country who are willing to work hard and fight for the rights of medical marijuana patients and their providers.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.