In the early Spring of 2015, a historic federal medical marijuana bill was introduced into Congress. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015 or the CARERS Act of 2015, was introduced in March of 2015. The bill was introduced by Senator Cory Booker, and as of today, carries 15 co-sponsors. Below is the summary of the bill, via Congress’ website:
Amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to provide that control and enforcement provisions of such Act relating to marijuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with state law relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, laboratory testing, or delivery of medical marijuana.
Transfers marijuana from schedule I to schedule II of the CSA.
Excludes “cannabidiol” from the definition of “marijuana” and defines it separately as the substance cannabidiol, as derived from marijuana or the synthetic formulation, that contains not greater than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis. Deems marijuana that is grown or processed for purposes of making cannabidiol, in accordance with state law, to meet such concentration limitation unless the Attorney General determines that the state law is not reasonably calculated to comply with such definition.
Prohibits a federal banking regulator from: (1) terminating or limiting the deposit insurance of a depository institution solely because it provides or has provided financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business; or (2) prohibiting, penalizing, or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business.
Prohibits a federal banking regulator from recommending, motivating, providing incentives, or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an individual, or to downgrade or cancel financial services offered to an individual, solely because: (1) the individual is a manufacturer of marijuana, (2) the individual is or later becomes an owner or operator of a marijuana-related legitimate business, or (3) the depository institution was not aware that the individual is the owner or operator of a marijuana-related legitimate business.
Prohibits a federal banking regulator from taking any adverse or corrective supervisory action on a loan to an owner or operator of: (1) a marijuana-related legitimate business soley because the owner or operator is such a business, or (2) real estate or equipment that is leased to a marijuana-related legitimate business solely because it is leased to such a business
Provides depository institutions that provide financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business protection under federal law from federal criminal prosecution or investigation, criminal penalties, and forfeiture of legal interest in collateral solely for providing financial services to such a business.
Directs: (1) the Department of Health and Human Services to terminate the Public Health Service interdisciplinary review process described in the guidance entitled “Guidance on Procedures for the Provision of marijuana for Medical Research” (issued on May 21, 1999), and (2) the Drug Enforcement Administration to issue at least three licenses under CSA registration requirements to manufacture marijuana and marijuana-derivatives for research approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to authorize VA health care providers to provide veterans with recommendations and opinions regarding participation in state marijuana programs.
This piece of legislation would bring about a logical public policy change, and is one that is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans. You will be hard pressed to find something that has the support of 16 federal senators and a majority of the American people, yet isn’t being voted on. This is obviously unacceptable. The Drug Policy Alliance has started a petition urging Senator Grassley to put the bill to a vote. Below is the language of the petition, which can be signed at this link here:
Demand a Hearing on Medical Marijuana
Sign the petition to Senator Grassley urging him to hold a hearing on the CARERS Act in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Petition to Senator Grassley:
I urge you to bring the CARERS Act, S.683, up for a hearing and vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee before the end of the year.
With twenty-three states and the District of Columbia legalizing and regulating marijuana for medicinal purposes and twelve states regulating CBD oils, and with over 80% of Americans in support of legal access to medical marijuana, it’s time for the federal government to let states set their own policies.
The American people deserve a debate and a vote on this important and timely legislation. Please bring S.683 up for a hearing and a vote today.
As of this blog post, the petition has been signed by 6,690 people.