New York: Sen. Schumer Throws Weight Behind Federal Medical Marijuana Bill

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Senator Chuck Schumer Joins NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in Sponsoring the CARERS Act, a Bill that Would End Federal Prohibition of Medical Marijuana

New York Patients and Families Applaud Schumer for His Support

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday added his name to the Senate’s sweeping medical marijuana bill. The CARERS Act, introduced in March by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Rand Paul (R-KY), would end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and remove barriers for research, veterans, and banking.

The move comes just days before New York State is expected to announce the names of five companies that will be allowed to produce medical marijuana in New York. New York’s medical marijuana program is expected to become fully operational in January 2016.

New York patients expressed their gratitude for Senator Schumer’s support.

“Chuck Schumer sided with patients and their families yesterday when he agreed to co-sponsor the CARERS Act,” said Kate Hintz of North Salem, N.Y., whose daughter Morgan suffers from a severe seizure disorder. “I’m proud to be from a state where both Senators – Gillibrand and Schumer – have recognized the importance of medical marijuana.

"Families, like mine, should be able to use medical marijuana when a doctor recommends it without having to worry about federal interference," Hintz said. "I hope the rest of our leaders in Washington will follow the lead of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, act quickly to pass the CARERS Act, and help relieve patient suffering.”

“I’m thrilled that Senator Schumer became a co-sponsor of the CARERS Act,” said four-time cancer survivor, Nancy Rivera from Troy, N.Y. “The CARERS Act recognizes that states should be allowed to set their own medical marijuana policies without federal interference.

"Patients in New York, who have waited so long for medical marijuana, should be able to access medicine without worrying about the federal government shutting the program down," Rivera said. "Senator Schumer took a stand on the right side of history and a stand for patients in New York.”

“As the possible future head of the Senate Democrats, and a key member of the Judiciary Committee, Schumer’s addition is a huge step forward for the bill,”, said Michael Collins, policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Photo of Sen. Chuck Schumer: Associated Press