After decades of injustice and ineffective, punitive, harmful drug policy, those of us fighting on this side of the War on Drugs can finally see a silver lining. Thanks to the CARERS Act, the federal government is finally willing to debate the legitimacy of medical marijuana. At first, it may seem like a small, almost insignificant step. But it’s a crucial one. Up until this very year, the topic was not even open for debate. Marijuana was classified a Schedule 1 drug with absolutely zero medicinal properties and was considered highly addictive. It may be years before the bill is ready to be put to a vote, but the fact that Washington is now willing to hear the argument that decades of legislation criminalizing marijuana and marijuana users may not have been justified is a massive deal. And it has not come easy. Many states have seen the absurdity in such harsh, black and white mindsets, starting with California in the mid 90’s when it passed the Compassionate Care act legalizing medical marijuana. More recently states including Oregon and Colorado have taken things one step further and legalized marijuana outright, with no medical stipulation. The federal government no doubt took notice, but made no sign of easing their harsh laws. In fact, for a while they even went after residence of these states, making a display of their over-ruling authority. Thankfully that has stopped and more and more states have enacted new laws decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana as they see fit. As the states continued to come together in a unified voice against harsh punishments for marijuana and a flood of research has emerged proving the medical benefits of marijuana, the time was right for those at the front lines against the War on Drugs to take our cause to Washington. They put in a tremendous amount of work to create the first real bill to be introduced to the Senate in support of medical marijuana. And now Washington is ready to listen. It’s going to take years to make its way from a bill to hopefully a law, but it has begun. And people are willing to listen. I think the bright, educated, passionate, hardworking folk who put this bill together are a far cry from the dreaded up hippie that Washington so wanted everyone to believe was the quintessential marijuana smoker. And we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude!
drugpolicy.org – August 13, 2015
It’s been five months since the historic medical marijuana bill – the CARERS Act – was introduced in the Senate, and as Congress enjoys its summer recess, it’s a good time to reflect on where the bill is positioned as we head into the second part of the year.
The legislation was introduced in March by Sens. Booker, Paul and Gillibrand, and received huge media attention, including a lead editorial in the New York Times in support of the bill, the day after it was introduced.
The advocacy groups in Washington, D.C. pushing CARERS have spent much of a very successful summer building support for the bill by advocating for the passage of three Senate appropriations amendments that mirror provisions of CARERS. These spending amendments would take effect for one year only, so they are less impactful than the legislative changes we would see through the passage of CARERS, but nonetheless they allowed us to test the waters on support for major provisions of the bill.
The key takeaway from these votes is that the Senate is ready to debate medical marijuana, and a majority would approve the CARERS Act if it was brought to the floor for a vote.
The adoption by the Senate of three amendments that are almost identical to provisions in the CARERS Act was a welcome development, not least because every amendment garnered bipartisan support. Perhaps the most important part of CARERS is the section that allows states to set their own medical marijuana policies.
The amendment mirroring this provision passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 21-9, with seven Republicans supporting. The size of the victory demonstrates that, contrary to what some may have said, the Senate is ready to tackle full medical marijuana. Another amendment allowing veterans access to medical marijuana passed 18-12, and an amendment allowing marijuana businesses to access banking services passed 16-14.
We’ve also seen Executive action reflective of reforms included in CARERS. The Obama Administration recently removed a large research barrier – the PHS Review – that CARERS sought to eliminate.” CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE>>>>>
If this is a cause that you feel passionately about, or even care just a little about, let your Senator know
by sending them this letter urging them to cosponsor the CARERS Act and finally put an end to the federal war on marijuana! It will only take a minute of your time and every voice counts! So do your part today!
Want to read more about the CARERS Act? Here’s the link to the Facts Sheet…