Apr 042016
 April 4, 2016

marijuana daylin leach senate bill 528 dcTomorrow there will be a hearing held in the Senate in regards to marijuana policy. Before you get too excited, realize that the hearing is already being labeled a ‘sham’ by major marijuana reform groups. Meanwhile the CARERS Act, which is a bipartisan bill that would do a lot of good for suffering patients and for marijuana reform in general, essentially sits on a shelf collecting dust. The sham hearing is drawing a lot of criticism from advocacy groups, and for good reason. Below are press releases put out by the Drug Policy Alliance, National Cannabis Industry Association, and Americans for Safe Access, respectively:

On Tuesday morning, Senator Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Feinstein (D-CA) will hold a hearing in the Caucus on International Narcotics Control titled “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?” The hearing is ostensibly a response to a recent GAO report that criticized DOJ for a lack of oversight of states that have legalized marijuana. However, the hearing is likely to be nothing more than a prohibitionist party.

“These hearings are a one-sided sham with the deck stacked with witnesses who have a track record of vehemently opposing marijuana legalization,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “An honest evaluation of marijuana legalization would include the undeniable benefits of legalization like the massive drop in marijuana arrests, the billions in taxes, and the transition from an underground market to a regulated one. A more even-handed hearing would also address the destructive harms of marijuana prohibition.”

Grassley and Feinstein have invited the Attorney General from Nebraska, whose lawsuit against Colorado and its legalization law were recently thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court. Another witness is a board member of notorious anti-marijuana group Project SAM. And another witness  is a U.S. Attorney who has vigorously prosecuted medical marijuana cases in California. Grassley’s own views on marijuana legalization are well-documented. In 2009, he commented that “marijuanais a gateway to harder drug use,” a theory that has been widely debunked.  Grassley has been known for his openness and impartiality on many issues, often allowing witnesses to appear on panels and oppose bills he supports.

Against this backdrop, this hearing is all the more disconcerting.  “Invites to policymakers and experts who have worked in support of marijuana reform must have been lost in the mail,” said Collins.

Grassley’s decision to hold a hearing on marijuana legalization is bizarre given the fact that he is under pressure to hold a hearing and vote in the Judiciary Committee on the bipartisan CARERS Act.  The CARERS Act has broad support and would affirm the right of states to set their own medical marijuana policies, reschedule medical marijuana to Schedule II, enable access to CBD oil, allow banks to provide financial services to marijuana dispensaries, permit VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans, and eliminate barriers to medical marijuana research. “Grassley should concentrate on issues that affect his state, instead of grandstanding,” said Collins.

Source: Drug Policy Alliance

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The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) today called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to respect the will of the voters and bipartisan members of his own committee by holding hearings on the CARERS Act. The CARERS Act is bipartisan legislation, originally introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY), that would allow patients access to medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution and open up new avenues for research into marijuana’s medical potential.

While he continues to obstruct any action to help critically ill patients and the providers who care for them, Senator Grassley is holding a hearing today designed to conjure up outdated prohibitionist fear-mongering.

More than 80% of Americans believe patients should have legal access to medical marijuana. Sen. Grassley could be helping patients in need, supporting legitimate small businesses, and respecting the overwhelming will of the voters,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA. “Instead, he plays obstructionist again, refusing to even have a conversation about a bill that has the support of Republicans and Democrats alike.

“Sen. Grassley may be stuck in the past, but the rest of us are not. It’s time for him to do his job and hold real hearings on real legislation that could make a real difference for patients and providers across the country.”

In addition to the CARERS Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act also sits bottled up in Sen. Grassley’s Judiciary Committee, despite a recent national AP poll showing that 61% of Americans support the legalization of cannabis.

Source: The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization representing cannabis-related businesses at the national level. NCIA promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and works toward a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.

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Americans for Safe Access (ASA), patients across the country are calling on Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chair Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) today to respond to bi-partisan support of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S.683) by holding a hearing and giving the bill a vote.  Today’s renewed calls for passage of the CARERS Act are in response to Chairman Grassley holding yet another lopsided hearing against medical cannabis as none of the witnesses scheduled to testify can speak on the medicinal value.

The announcement last week that Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control, and his Co-chairman Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will hold a hearing Tuesday, April 5th entitled, “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?,” angered those who have been in frequent discussion with both offices regarding the need for a hearing on the CARERS Act. In addition, according to Senator Grassley’s office, he has received  daily calls from constituents and others requesting that the CARERS Act receive a hearing, and those calls have seemingly been ignored. A February 2016 poll conducted by Seizer & Co. of Des Moines found that 78% of adults in  Senator Grassley’s own state of Iowa support medical cannabis.

“Senator Grassley’s constituents are seeking an end to the federal interference of state medical cannabis programs, including the limited program in his own state,” said ASA Government Affairs Director Mike Liszewski. “The CARERS Act would offer that protection and it’s about time to have a hearing and vote on the bill.”

Tuesday’s hearing will mark the second time during the 114th Session of Congress that Chairman Grassley has convened a Drug Caucus hearing that involved a strong bias against the medicinal compound THC. In June, the Drug Caucus held a hearing on cannabidiol (CBD) to the exclusion of the any planned discussion on the value of THC. Tuesday’s hearing will feature testimony from a board member of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who opposes rescheduling and the CARERS Act and does not feature any witnesses who can provide a counterpoint view on the medicinal value of cannabis.

The passage of the CARERS Act  would allow state medical marijuana programs to continue without federal interference, allow for greater research, and create medical cannabis access for veterans in states with programs.  The bill has been stalled in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary with no signs of a hearing despite growing support for it among members of the committee, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who signed on as a co-sponsor last month.

“With 23 states and the District of Columbia operating medical cannabis programs and another 17 allowing for the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) it is clear the nation deserves a hearing and a vote on CARERS,”  said ASA’s executive director, Seph Sherer. “This hearing is yet another attempt to avoid dealing with the medical issue head-on.”

While the hearing will be focusing on harms associated with cannabis, it is doubtful that the findings of studies assessing harms that have shown cannabis as one of the safest class of medical compounds will be presented.  These findings are outlined in ASA’s Cannabis and Cannabis Resin Critical Review Preparation Document submitted to the United Nations for inclusion in the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem to be held in April.
Further Information:

Source: With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and caregivers.

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  15 Responses to “Marijuana Reform Groups Call On U.S. Senate To Hold Hearing On CARERS Act”

  1.  

    Members of the DPA, NCIA and ASA are to be commended for their determined efforts. But the time for words is over. Actions of nonviolent civil disobedience are in order, much like that offered up by the brave souls at the Saturday 4/2 event in D.C.—they were bold enough, before smoking cannabis in unison at 4:20 p.m., to carry a 51-foot joint in front of the White House that demanded: “Obama, De-Schedule Cannabis Now!” Likewise, cannabis supporters MUST peaceably disrupt Grassley’s and Feinstein’s little hearing. Fill the room with cannabis smoke and chants of “Enough!” We can’t let this type of blatant obstruction stand one more day (I’m unable to get there, due to work 400 miles to the north).

  2.  

    Why do Democrats keep electing Diane Feinstein? Get rid of this b****!

    •  

      She’s a real terror, one of the most powerful alcohol supremacist bigots in the country. As dishonest as the day is long when it comes to cannabis. I will rejoice when she is dead, and her bloodstained hands can do no more damage.

  3.  

    Everyone who cares about Medical Cannabis should know about the Kaiser study which showed that men who use Cannabis have a 45% lower rate of Bladder Cancer — the fourth most common form of Cancer.

    These results are EXTREMELY significant. They show beyond any doubt that Marijuana reduces cancer rates and in the case of bladder Cancer they do so to an amazing extent.

    Kaiser is a MAJOR HMO, and the study involved the medical records of 82,050 men form Northern and Southern California.

    The results were presented at the American Urological Association 2013 Annual Scientific Meeting.

    Again, this is an extremely significant result and makes it absolutely. imperative that Marijuana be removed from Schedule 1 immediately.

    For more information, google “kaiser 45% decrease bladder cancer”

  4.  

    Why are prohibitionists in such full control in CONgress of any bill looking to end the very destructive lies they promote? We note the Carers act is still a horrible lie at sched 2 while big pharma has their products at sched 3, basically a small step to appease these idiots without really making sense.

    Bernie’s bill SB2237 to de-sched is the best move to reality. Without changes in CONgress cmtee controls, away from status quo big biz prohibitionists, we know his bill will be tossed automatically, same as the Carers bill or any other bill going for change to truth, by these fools.

    How is it legal in CONgress to not allow positive info into the discussion? Why is there not more balanced discussion showing real truth?
    Why do they not realize there is more finance for Fed & state govts, & infrastructure, and many peoples better health & saving lives, by going above ground fully legal & regulated, like Canada?
    Why do they not realize or recognize they are directly responsible for making large numbers of people suffer & die for opposition prohibition profits, and that above ground & regulated serves everyone a lot better? Do they really care about whats best for people & govts? Or just status Quo Profits to a few?

    Their approach, Reefer Madness Lies, is not better for the vast majority, and seeing this bogus talk with only prohibitionist corp profits of interest allowed, no matter what the damage is otherwise on a large scale, speaks of one thing only..CORRUPTION against citizens AND govt.

    This is not the only issue showing the all out corruption of many politicians for status quo profiteers..small wonder this years election is very different.
    People in general are waking up to the big biz control of govt that makes them suffer & die for them, and they have had enough of it.
    I so hope Bernie is elected For the People, not big biz corruption as usual. Grassley & Feinstein should be sacked, period, for not allowing a truthful discussion. which hurts & kills a lot of people for a very few extreme wealthies.

    •  

      Well said!
      I also favor Sanders’ SB2237 over the CARERS Act,
      because the latter still classifies cannabis as
      “dangerous” as methamphetamine, cocaine,
      morphine and Oxycontin.

      Anything less than absolute de-scheduling of cannabis
      is a fear-fueled, profit-motivated lie!

      •  

        I agree with you that it doesn’t go FAR enough! But the CARERS Act, has a much better chance of passing a Floor vote than Bernies bill does. Bernies Bill has ZERO support from either Democrats OR Republicans in Washington. Americans aren’t quite ready to go from total prohibition of marijuana to what they would call, a “Free for all” with it overnight! Especially when we’ve still got people doing LIFE in the penitentiary for its use. They’re NOT gonna de-schedule it totally!

        At least with the CARERS Act, it will remove the barriers to research on the plant! You and I KNOW the benefits of it and how many lives it’s saved. MINE being 1 of them!

        It also allows Veterans that live in Medical Marijuana States to be able to use marijuana without repercussion from the VA. It would allow VA Dr’s to be able to recommend its use for a Veterans specific ailment. It will STOP the VA from discriminating against us! Many of us with PTSD really benefit from its use. I know you’ve heard not only ME say what it does and how it helps us but many others! Well, those who we tell our stories to, don’t really understand the peace out it gives us. It keeps us calm and clear headed instead of in a Big Pharma HAZE, where we don’t feel like ourselves. HELL, you don’t FEEL anything!

        You think, if I have to live like this the rest of my life? Let’s just END it! I was in a BIG PHARMA HAZE for 17 years! Attempted suicide, etc… Then AZ passed Medical Marijuana and over the past 5 years, I’ve got some semblance of a life again.

        I can FEEL emotions again. I can FEEL pain as well as experience JOY again! I actually LEAVE my house! I allow people IN my house! I’ve been able to attend Conferences, being away from my SAFE zone, for a week! You really don’t know how HUGE a feat that was for me! NONE of those things happened just 5 short years ago. Now they DO happen for me daily, because in able to use marijuana!

        Instead of taking 24 different R/x drugs at one time! These drugs to get me going in the morning, these to keep me numb throughout the day, and those drugs to bring me down at night so I could get possibly 3 hours of sleep a night! Now, I vape a lil shatter or Live resin and my whole demeanor changes!

        No the CARERS Act isn’t perfect and doesn’t go far enough. But IT stands the best chance of really passing a Floor vote in the House AND Senate. It’s got huge bipartisan support and we honestly believe (after working on this for 2+ yrs) that if Grassley would give the bill a hearing, it would pass out of committee.

        That’s what they’re afraid of! They’re afraid of where this bill takes us. They’re afraid that if it went to a Floor vote of the whole Senate and House it would pass and research can be done on the plant. Then they can no longer SAY “there’s not enough research on this plant”! They can’t SAY that “it’s a gateway drug”! They can’t SAY that “Teens will die if legalized”. They’ll have to ADMIT that they’ve been lying to you about this drug for 80+ years

        PLEASE CALL Sen Charles Grassley’s office and INSIST that he give (S-683) The CARERS Act a hearing in the Judiciary committee!

        •  

          Good comment! Before re/de scheduling, we attach/pass a NO GMO law. I hear Europe has these “beer purity laws”.
          Cannabis is a sacred species, and should these biotechnology corps destroy it, well, that’s a small step for mankind, but a giant leap towards mankind’s destruction.

    •  

      Let it be known that there’s NO Democratic support for Bernie’s Bill of descheduling it, either! NONE!

      So just changing leadership of the committee, won’t work either! We’ve seen THAT for 80+ years now!

      BOTH parties are VERY loyal to the Alcohol industry as well as Big Pharma! Grassley takes a LOT of Alcohol money! Feinstein gets a LOT from Big Pharma!

    •  

      You said: “Bernie’s bill SB2237 to de-sched is the best move to reality. Without changes in CONgress cmtee controls, away from status quo big biz prohibitionists, we know his bill will be tossed automatically, same as the Carers bill or any other bill going for change to truth, by these fools.”

      VOTE IN NOVEMBER!!!!

  5.  

    Grassley’s NOT gonna budge! I was on Capitol Hill with ASA and 15 other Veterans 1 year ago. We got a fairly good response from ALL those we met with about the CARERS Act!

    When we got to Grassley, he wouldn’t even meet with us! He sent the message, “As long as I’m Chairman of Judiciary, this bill well NEVER get a hearing”!

    Jeff Flake had previously said that “the bill deserves a hearing in the committee and he was thinking of parliamentarily forcing at least a hearing”. Then he backed OFF of it!

    I LOVE how all these politicians, BOTH Republican AND Democrat, hold up for the world to see, ALL the stuff they’ve done to help Veterans. I ask you, have you SEEN how the VA runs lately? None of em wanna hold up the number 22 though! NONE of em even wanna talk about that! I’m speaking of the 22 Veterans a DAY that commit SUICIDE!

    Instead, they bring in people like Kevin Sabet to testify in front of them. But KEEP those whose lives it’s SAVED, as far away from the hearings as possible. I know they say that “Congress is our most promising route to legalization”. I’m not so sure about that anymore!

  6.  

    Assly’s showing how powerful he thinks he is. Iowans send this idiot home with his tail between his legs.This man represents only his prehistoric views and indiference to the needs of his constituents.

  7.  

    Safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana is a matter of life and death for countless Americans, including large numbers of American Children with Seizure disorders.
    It is IMMORAL to leave Marijuana illegal for even one second longer.
    It is one of the most important MORAL issues of our time.

  8.  

    What a D-bag!!! Serves this prick right that every time he signs just last name to anything that he is reminded of GRASS…ha ha asshole! Not planning any trips to Iowa soon or at all.

  9.  

    Who would have EVER imagined that gay marriage would become legal before cannabis! Their minds are locked shut on it! WHAT IS GOING ON? I will be long gone before these people wake up!

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