The House now has its own version of a historic piece of legislation that would legalize medical marijuana at a federal level if it passes.
A bipartisan group introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act in the Senate earlier this month, hoping to remove federal prohibitions on medical marijuana in the states where it is already legal. A bipartisan group in the House introduced a companion bill on Tuesday.
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska say their bill would reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II, allow states to determine their own medical pot policies and allow Veterans Affairs physicians to recommend safe treatments using cannabis.
“The topic of medical and recreational marijuana has always been an issue of states’ rights for me, a position based upon a strong belief in the 10th Amendment and the principals of federalism established by our founders,” Congressman Young said in a statement. “The CARERS Act aims to protect states that have legalized medical marijuana and allows them to properly enforce their own laws. My position aims to reaffirm the states’ rights to determine the nature of criminal activity within their own jurisdictions, which I believe is critical for states to effectively legislate within their borders.”
Congressman Cohen shared a similar sentiment in the statement: “Drug policy reform is long overdue, but I am pleased that today it is an issue that unites both Democrats and Republicans. The science has been in for a long time, and keeping marijuana on Schedule I — with heroin and LSD — is ludicrous. I am pleased to join with Congressman Don Young in introducing this important bill to bring the federal government in line with the science and the American people, respect states’ rights, remove the threat of federal prosecution in states with medical marijuana and help our citizens access the treatments they need.”
If the CARERS Act is passed and then signed into law, Young said it will:
Allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies and eliminate federal prosecution of patients, providers, and businesses in states with medical marijuana programs;
Reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II, recognizing legitimate medical use;
Allow for greater access to cannabidiol (CBD);
Allow access to banking services for marijuana-related businesses that are operating pursuant to state law;
Allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana;
Cut red tape and expand opportunities for research on marijuana.