WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new medical marijuana bill is gaining more support in the House and Senate.
If passed, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect State Act allows states to make their own decisions about medical marijuana.
It also recognizes the drug’s legitimate use as medicine at the federal level and gives Veterans Affairs doctors the ability to treat patients with it.
“Republicans and Democrats agree: federal law on medical marijuana is outdated, out of touch, and needs to change,” said Congressman Steve Cohen, a cosponsor of the legislation. “Ailing patients deserve compassion, not prosecution, especially when they live in states that have legalized medical marijuana. I thank my colleagues for supporting this bill and I hope their brave stances cause more Members of Congress help us pass this common-sense bill to respect states’ rights.”
Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, agrees.
“We need policies that empower states to legalize medical marijuana if they so choose—recognizing that there are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows,” said Senator Booker. “The growing momentum and bipartisan support for the CARERS Act in both the Senate and House are a clear indication that together, we can and will make medical marijuana accessible to the millions of Americans who could benefit from it.”
Senator John Barrasso was an orthopedic surgeon and has a different opinion on the controversy.
“While there are conflicting studies regarding the medical use of marijuana, the risks to individuals and the larger community far outweigh the potential benefits it may or may not provide,” he said. “There are better legal and proven ways to safely address pain.”
“We must think about what kind of message these laws would send to our young people,” said Senator Mike Enzi . “There is also no clear science-based evidence that medical marijuana is more effective than other regulated medicines. Approval of medical marijuana use at this time is premature until the research is more conclusive about benefits and risk.”
If passed, the bill would not legalize medical marijuana in any state.
However, it will allow each the right to set their own policies, prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting those who use it in those states, and expand opportunities for research.