Three senators are making history this afternoon by introducing a bill that would effectively end the federal ban on medical marijuana.
Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kristen Gillbrand (D-NY) will stand in front of the Senate today and introduce the bill that would allow patients, doctors, and businesses in the 23 states in which medical marijuana is legal to regulate their product without breaking federal law.
Michael Collins, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “Almost half the states have legalized marijuana for medical use; it’s long past time to end the federal ban. This bipartisan legislation allows states to set their own medical marijuana policies and ends the criminalization of patients, their families, and the caregivers and dispensary owners and employees who provide them their medicine.”
The Washington Post reports, “[The bill] would reclassify the drug in the eyes of the Drug Enforcement Administration, allow for limited inter-state transport of the plant…and make it easier for doctors to recommend the drug to veterans and easier for banks to provide services to the industry.”
What this means is the dispensaries would now be able to have access to safe and secure banking without the threat of their assets being seized by the federal government.
Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, a cannabis advocacy group said, “It would effectively end the federal war on medical marijuana.”
The bill’s five key provisions are as follows:
- Marijuana would be downgraded to a Schedule 2 drug, joining OxyContin, Adderall, and Ritalin.
- Restrictions on inter-state transport to facilitate patient’s access to cannabis would ease.
- Banks would be able to provide services to the marijuana industry as they do with any other industry.
- Access for cannabis research would be broadened.
- Doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs would be able to recommend cannabis as a treatment in states where it is medically legal.
The bill is officially titled The Compassionate Access, Research, Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) act. The proposal will be unveiled at a press conference at 12:30 EST. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress on this bill.