CARERS act

United States: Congress Revives Federal Medical Cannabis Legislation with CARERS Act

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A new federal bill, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS), sponsored by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would take four major actions to protect state medical marijuana programs. The bill would prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws, allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend cannabis in legal states, expand research on cannabis, and remove cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

U.S.: Senate To Hold Sham Hearing On Marijuana Legalization Tuesday

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Reform Advocates Denounce Hearing as One-Sided “Prohibitionist Party”

Senator Grassley Stacks the Deck with Known Anti-Legalization Zealots and Ignores Benefits of Legalization, Such as Massive Drop in Marijuana Arrests and Prohibition-Related Violence, as well as New Tax Revenue

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Dianne 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.

U.S.: NCIA Calls On Sen. Grassley To Hold Hearings On Marijuana Legislation

ChuckGrassleySad[TheUSConstitution.org]

As Grassley holds outdated prohibitionist hearing, he continues to obstruct bipartisan efforts to help medical marijuana patients and providers

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) on Monday called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) 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 Monday hearing designed to conjure up outdated prohibitionist fear-mongering.

U.S.: Sen. Bernie Sanders To Introduce Legislation To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

BernieSanders

First-Ever Bill Introduced In Senate To Legalize Marijiuana; Second Major Cannabis Reform Bill Introduced in the Senate This Year

Support for Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Continues to Grow

Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders is to announce at a Wednesday town hall meeting that he is introducing legislation in the Senate that would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances, end federal marijuana prohibition, and let states set their own policies without federal interference.

The bill, which could be introduced as early as Thursday, is expected to be similar to a 2011 bill introduced in the U.S. House by Democrat Barney Frank and Republican Ron Paul known then as the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. It would be the first bill ever introduced in the U.S. Senate to end the failed war on marijuana.

“Clearly Bernie Sanders has looked at the polls showing voter support for marijuana legalization,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Marijuana reform was already moving forward in Congress but we expect this bill to give reform efforts a big boost.”

U.S.: Advocacy Group Launches 'The Truth About Marijuana' Educational Series

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New Campaign Aims to Deepen Public Knowledge about Medical Marijuana

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) on Wednesday launched "The Truth About Medical Marijuana" educational website and accompanying event series. The Truth About Medical Marijuana will focus on emerging issues in the area of medical marijuana, including understanding the research behind the medicine, emerging policies issues surrounding cannabidiol (CBD) and consumer safety issues.

During each of the next three months, event hosts will focus on these issues and prepare attendees to share that information with politicians and key decision makers, as well as providing tools to counter misinformation in the media.

“With the majority of Americans living in states that allow at least some kind of medical marijuana it’s time to move beyond rhetoric and headlines and foster a genuine understanding of this too often misunderstood medicine,” said Steph Sherer, ASA executive director. “With the Truth About Medical Marijuana, we’re filling a void by giving people straightforward explanations of the science behind medical marijuana and explaining how medical marijuana relates to them and their families.”

Medical marijuana policy has recently undergone a significant series of developments with the passage of several new state laws in a short period of time. In total, 40 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia allow some legal medical use of marijuana.

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.”

U.S.: Congressional Briefing Highlights Federal Barriers To Medical Marijuana Research

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Americans for Safe Access (ASA) on Thursday hosted a Congressional Briefing with Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on federal barriers faced by researchers working to understand the medical uses of marijuana.

The briefing provided expert insights on how federal policy has undermined medical marijuana research and the state of contemporary medical marijuana research from Dr. Sue Sisley and Dr. David Casarett. Brooking Institute Fellow John Hudak discussed the practical impact of reform proposals.

“ASA put together this briefing so Congress could hear, directly from top researchers, how to make increased medical marijuana research a reality,” said Steph Sherer, ASA executive director. “These experts can tell us firsthand how the federal government’s policies undermine research and how reforms like the CARERS Act can move this essential medical research forward.”

Dr. Sisley will present insights on how federal barriers have directly blocked her research on using marijuana to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, including the adverse impacts of the Drug Enforcement Agency licensing only one entity (National Institute on Drug Abuse) to grow the federal research supply of marijuana. Dr. Casarett, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and author of the recently published book, Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana, will discuss contemporary medical marijuana research.

California: Advocates To Hand-Deliver Medical Marijuana Petition To Sen. Feinstein

DianneFeinsteinSenatorCalifornia[SFChronicle]

Over 10,000 Signatories Tell Feinstein to Stop Opposing Medical Marijuana

Petition Follows Feinstein's Recent Vote Against Protecting Californian Residents from Federal Interference in Medical Marijuana Laws

A group of California-based advocates on Tuesday will hand-deliver a medical marijuana petition to the San Francisco office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein has been a leading opponent of cannabis reform, and recently spoke out against an amendment that would protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference.

The amendment passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 21-9, with Feinstein as the only Democrat to oppose the measure, joining eight Republicans who voted in support.

California locals are fed up with Feinstein's well-documented opposition to medical marijuana, according to Amanda Reiman, manager, Marijuana Law and Policy, with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

"California has allowed access to medical marijuana for 20 years and the vast majority of Californians support this," Reiman said. "It is disappointing that Senator Feinstein continues to be a lone voice of opposition from California when it comes to supporting medical marijuana patients."

U.S.: Senate Members To Investigate Barriers To Researching Marijuana Extract CBD

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The U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control will hold a hearing Wednesday morning on cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana being used in the treatment of seizure disorders and other medical conditions, and federal obstacles to studying its efficacy.

The hearing, “Cannabidiol: Barriers to Research and Potential Medical Benefits” will be led by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who have long been opponents of efforts to reform federal marijuana laws.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have been invited to participate. They are sponsors of the CARERS Act, bipartisan legislation that would resolve the tension between state and federal marijuana laws.

The hearing is expected to focus on the use of CBD in the treatment of seizure disorders rather than whole-plant medical marijuana and the many other medical conditions for which doctors frequently recommend it. It is also expected to focus on federally regulated distribution channels rather than state-regulated medical marijuana providers.

WHAT: Hearing on CBD research and efficacy

WHEN: Wednesday, June 24, 9:30 a.m. ET

WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226, Washington, D.C.

WHO: Dr. John Brad Ingram, child neurologist, University of Mississippi
Dr. Tom Minahan, emergency physician and parent of child with seizure disorder
Joseph Rannazzisi, deputy assistant administrator, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Dr. Kevin Sabet, anti-marijuana activist, Project SAM

U.S.: Obama Administration Removes Crucial Barrier To Marijuana Research

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Big Win for Marijuana Reform Advocates but More Has to Be Done

Senate Hearing on Medical Marijuana Scheduled for Wednesday

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a long-sought move anticipated by many marijuana reform advocates, the White House on Monday announced that it was removing a major obstacle to marijuana research – the Public Health Service (PHS) Review.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) welcomed the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to eliminate its Public Health Service (PHS) Review Committee for non-federally funded medical marijuana research – an additional review process not applied to other Schedule I substances. Last year, Rep. Blumenauer led a letter, signed by 29 other members of Congress, to the Secretary of HHS Sylvia Mathews Burwell requesting that this PHS process be eliminated.

“Today’s decision by HHS is a significant step toward improving an antiquated system that unfairly targets marijuana above and beyond other substances in research," Congressman Bluemanuer said. "I applaud the Administration in heeding our request and the request of many to eliminate this barrier.

"I hope this action will facilitate easier access to marijuana for medical researchers,” Rep. Blumenauer said. “Considering the widespread use of medical marijuana, it is absolutely essential that we allow doctors and scientists to research the therapeutic benefits and risks of its use.

Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Employers Rights To Fire Medical Marijuana Patients

BrandonCoats[NPR]

Advocates Call for State and Federal Reform Protecting Medical Marijuana Patients and Legal Adult Users of Marijuana

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday affirmed lower court decisions allowing employers to fire employees for marijuana use while off-duty. The decision hinged on the state’s lawful off-duty activities statute.

The Court held that in order for the off-duty conduct to be considered “lawful,” it must be legal under both state and federal law. The unanimous decision was not a surprise to advocates working to reform marijuana law and policy in Colorado.

The case involved Brandon Coats, a 34-year-old quadriplegic, who uses marijuana to help with spasms and seizures due to a debilitating car accident. Coats worked as a customer service representative for Dish Network for three years until he was randomly drug tested and subsequently fired for testing positive for THC.

The highest court in the state has now firmly sided with employers on this issue, giving advocates a clear message that state protections are needed, according to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

The case and many others like it highlight the gray areas and legal fixes needed in Colorado and other states that have reformed their marijuana laws. Given that the substance remains illegal under federal law, any rights bestowed upon civilians by state law fall far short of fully protecting medical marijuana patients and legal adult users of marijuana.

The problem is most apparent in the areas of employment, housing and parental rights.

U.S.: Americans for Safe Access To Host Advocate Discussion of CNN's Weed 3

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Sunday night continued his groundbreaking reporting on medical marijuana with "Weed 3," which continued to introduce Americans to new stories of patients benefiting from medical marijuana and document the challenges that continue to slow down progress in this critical area.

"Weed 3" included important moments like President Obama signaling his support for medical marijuana and documenting the political commitment of Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to reform federal policy on medical marijuana with the CARERS Act. Patient profiles like that of U.S. veteran Sean Kiernan, who uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms again showed Americans that medical marijuana can have tremendous benefits in the lives of suffering patients.

“CNN’s 'Weed 3' showed how patient advocates are fighting for and winning the right to safe access to medical marijuana for themselves as well as researchers,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Political leaders like President Obama, Senators Booker, Gillibrand and Paul are supporting medical marijuana reform because they understand the huge difference it can make in patient’s lives.”

"Weed 3" also highlighted the important veterans PTSD study that researchers Rick Doblin and Dr. Sue Sisley are moving forward with despite significant political obstacles that have delayed and threatened to prevent the study from being conducted.

U.S. Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum In Senate

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's funny what a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday, when a federal medical marijuana bill was introduced by three Senators, many political observers dismissed its chances out of hand. But now the push to legalize medicinal cannabis at the federal level is gaining momentum in the Senate, drawing co-sponsors from both parties.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, introduced by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, provide access to banking services for cannabis businesses, and potentially fuel more medical research into the herb, reports Jake Miller at CBS News.

"The time has come for the federal government to stop impeding the doctor-patient relationship in states that have decided their own medical marijuana policies," said Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada), as he signed onto the proposal last week.

"This bipartisan legislation puts Americans who are suffering first by allowing Nevada's medical marijuana patients, providers, and businesses that are in compliance with state law, to no longer be in violation of federal law and vulnerable to federal prosecution," Sen. Heller said.

U.S.: Senators Gillibrand & Booker Meet With Families About Federal Medical Marijuana Bill

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Families with Children & Loved Ones in Need of Treatment Join Senators to Discuss Landmark Proposal to Let States Legalize Medical Marijuana

Leading National Epilepsy Organization Backs Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Sunday joined New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution.

The Senators also announced the support of the Epilepsy Foundation, which has endorsed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act that Booker and Gillibrand, along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced last week. The CARERS Act respects states’ ability that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevents federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.

New York: Senators To Meet With Families About Federal Medical Marijuana Bill

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SUNDAY: Gillibrand & Booker to Meet with NY, NJ Families About New Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill to Allow Patients to Access Necessary Care without Fear of Federal Prosecution

Five Local Families with Children & Loved Ones in Need of Treatment Will Join Senators to Discuss Landmark Proposal to Let States Legalize Medical Marijuana

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Sunday, March 15, will join five New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution.

Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.

Earlier this week, Senators Gillibrand and Booker with Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would respect the states that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in those states.

The families who will meet with Gillibrand and Booker would be able to access treatment for conditions medical marijuana has been shown to help control, like epilepsy and seizures.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and Epilepsy Foundation will also join the families and Senators.

Date: Sunday, March 15, 2015

Time: 2:00 PM

U.S.: Senators Introduce Sweeping Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill To Protect Patients

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Hundreds of patient advocates will gather in Washington, DC on March 31 to lobby for passage of Senate bill

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Comprehensive medical marijuana legislation was introduced Tuesday in the U.S. Senate for the first time in the nation's history.

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act to end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies. The CARERS Act is endorsed by several advocacy groups including Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which helped Senate authors develop the legislation.

The CARERS Act will reclassify marijuana for medical use, overhaul the banking laws so as not to punish licensed businesses, allow veterans to have access to medical marijuana, and eliminate current barriers to research.

Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have adopted medical marijuana laws, and another twelve states have adopted laws allowing for the consumption of a specific form of cannabis known as cannabidiol or CBD commonly used to treat seizure disorders.

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