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Historic Senate Bill Introduced to Legalize Medical Marijuana Across U.S.

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Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) — along with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — introduces a new medical marijuana bill at the Capitol on March 10.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday introduced an historic bill that would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana.

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) presented the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would reclassify marijuana and reduce the government’s ability to regulate the drug, increase research efforts, and allow VA physicians to legally prescribe the drug to veterans.

“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,” said Sen. Booker at the bill’s unveiling. “Right now, our veterans are prohibited from getting the medical treatment they so desperately need to relieve their pain and suffering.”

Doctors at the VA currently are prohibited from prescribing medical marijuana to their patients.  While 23 states currently permit medical marijuana, the VA is controlled by the federal government and those docs must abide by federal law regardless of where they practice. Should this bill pass, military veterans will be permitted to receive prescriptions for medical marijuana.

“The government shouldn’t prevent doctors from prescribing medicine that has been shown to work,” said Sen. Gillibrand.

The CARERS Act would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency defines as drugs with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” such as heroin or LSD, to the “less abuse potential” Schedule II classification like oxycodone or Ritalin.

The bill would also open new opportunities for medical research of marijuana, which traditionally has been one of the most regulated drugs in the research field.  Since 1999, anyone conducting research on marijuana must also receive special registration from the DEA — a designation no other Schedule I drug research requires.  The CARERS Act would remove that restriction.

Joining the senators at Tuesday’s ceremony were medical marijuana advocate Kate Hintz and her daughter Morgan, who suffers from severe Epilepsy. “As the mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder, anxiously waiting to get access to a medication that is already helping thousands of others is unbearable,” said Hintz.

Sen. Booker said that many businesses are also fearful of prosecution and noted that this bill would allow financial institutions to provide banking services to legitimate marijuana businesses, which currently generate over $1 billion in annual revenue and expected to grow significantly.

-Brad Broker

10 comments

  1. I suffer from a seizures,since age of 5..only thing that has controlled them,is the smoking of cannabis..pharmaceutical meds have ruined my life and health..please legalize cannabis for those of us who are in need of it..

  2. I am disabled and not allowed to serve, plus fighting over oil so the rich get richer isnt a necessary war. So how is it fair for only VA get this benefit.

    • It is not for just the VA, the story said the VA can not prescribe any vet even in legal states because of the FDA regulations. They are wanting medical legalized throughout the US

  3. diagnosed with CHRONIC Migraines due to prior headtraumas;
    Chronic COPD
    Chronic HEP C
    liver biopsy =liver 55% cirrotic
    Chronic Bronchitis
    daily pain levels at 6-7+ 24/7/52
    moderate bulging both sides of spine all disks inclusive
    living in florida,
    pain meds prescribed by drs. cause more liver damage themselves,
    cant sleep, cant eat, cant breath ..
    the only thing makes life bearable for me is MMJ…
    been getting from friends who have coming in from cali…
    helps sleep..
    helps eat..
    reduces pain to more tolerable levels,
    makes life bearable to live and function again…

  4. I smoked it all my life, it should be 100% legal, its a beautiful plant, it should also be free, it grows in dirt, the only reason we pay for it is because ya’ll are cruel and unaware how useful it is, You should trust God.

  5. I suffer from the ignorance of our government. Allow people to live thier lives in peace in the manner that they choose. We have the RIGHT to life, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. As long as you dont harm anyone else or threaten thier property. How a person chooses to medicate themselves ir just relax after a long week of work should be thier own concern and.no-one elses. Follow the South Florida Cannabis Committee on fb and visit our website for more info. SoFLCC.org. we need volunteers to help FULLY DECRIMINALIZE CANNABIS POSSESSION IN FLORIDA. Thank You!

  6. I suffer from Major depression and my wife from Epilepsy. Please let this bill pass

  7. I suffer from seizures and I don’t think that you should be able to keep me from getting the medicine that I truly need.

  8. I suffer from herniated disc pain and I would like to kknow where to apply for medical marihuana thank you

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