On March 10th, three members of the Senate introduced the CARERS Act (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act), which was the first bi-partisan bill that would effectively end the federal ban on medical marijuana. Yesterday, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) introduced the House companion of that bill.
Once again, the main points of the CARERS Act 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 House is no stranger to marijuana legislation. Just last year, the Republican-controlled House passed an amendment that prohibited the Department of Justice from undercutting state medical marijuana laws. The CARERS Act is so important because this amendment expires at the end of this fiscal year.
In addition to this, the House passed another three amendments last year regarding state marijuana policy, but unfortunately none of them actually made it into law.
Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “Reforming our nation’s failed drug policies is one of the few issues Democrats and Republicans can agree on. The tide is quickly turning against marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs in general.”
To read more about the CARERS Act, check out Federal Medical Marijuana Ban May Come To An End.