Pro-Pot Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) came together once again to plead for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a vote on their medical marijuana bill, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015 (more commonly known as the CARERS Act). It’s been an uphill battle for the bill that would allow for medical research on cannabis, a Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule I drug.
With 37 co-sponsors, the bill represents the majority of Americans’ support of medical use and veterans access, but Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) continues to block it. At last week’s congressional cannabis conference, Sen. Gillibrand spoke out against the Republican’s opposition.
“This is clearly a case of antiquated ideology getting in the way of scientific progress. I will continue to urge all of my colleagues in the Senate to support the CARERS Act, so we can help our families have access to the medicine they need without fear of arrest,” said Senator Gillibrand.
Medical marijuana is already legal, in some form, in 42 states. However, federal law still makes it a crime to use this form of medicine, even in states where it is legal. The CARERS Act would reschedule cannabis to a Schedule II drug, prohibit federal banking from discouraging or penalizing legal marijuana-related businesses, and direct the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to issue at least three licenses under the CSA registration requirements to manufacture marijuana and marijuana-derivatives for research approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), reminds supporters of the plant that the fight is far from over. “The recent discussion about lifting the federal barriers to medical cannabis research is an encouraging signal, but we must remember that there are millions of patients in the U.S. who need medical cannabis today,” said Sherer.
ASA has petitions available online, to sign in support of allowing the CARERS Act a vote.
“Patients should not suffer while waiting for the fruit of this research, which may take years or even decades to accomplish,” said Sherer.