Historic Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in the US Senate!


Yesterday, news hit that Senators Rand Paul, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker were to introduce a bipartisan medical marijuana bill in the United States Senate. Now, the qualifiers can be taken off, as the senators announced the bill this morning with a press conference. The marijuana law reform movement has made such amazing strides in recent years and this bill has been a long time in the making as support for medical cannabis has been at a supermajority level for several years now. Politicians are often behind the people on marijuana issues, so it is good to see some United States Senators catch up a bit.

The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading anti-Drug War organization, has a 3pm Eastern conference call scheduled to discuss this important development. DPA describes the bill, known as the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act:

  • Allow states to legalize marijuana for medical use without federal interference

  • Permit interstate commerce in cannabidiol (CBD) oils

  • Reschedule marijuana to schedule II

  • Allow banks to provide checking accounts and other financial services to marijuana dispensaries

  • Allow Veterans Administration physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans

  • Eliminate barriers to medical marijuana research.

“This legislation is a game-changer,” said Michael Collins, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “It is worth noting that Senators with a national profile are championing this issue. Ending the war on medical marijuana is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

The Drug Policy Alliance will host a teleconference today 3pm EST. Journalists are invited to dial in and speak to policy experts, patients, and advocates.

So many people have put in so much work to fight for cannabis law reform and it is heartening to see such positive developments. With more and more politicians realizing that not only does science back up medical cannabis, but voters do as well, we will only see more progress on medical marijuana legislation. Additionally, as more Democrats and Republicans reach across the aisle to work on an issue that a super-majority of Americans agree upon, legislative successes will start to snowball and we can finally see an end to the failed and harmful policy of cannabis prohibition.

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.