GOP Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Lisa Murkowski are teaming up with Democrats Al Franken, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand “to support a bill that would protect states that allow medical marijuana from any federal interference” (Rare).
Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked Congress to “allow the Justice Department to prosecute businesses and individuals in states with medical marijuana laws” but some members of Congress went against Sessions.
Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Corey Booker of New Jersey, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York introduced a bill to end federal prohibition of medical marijuana and improve research.
The 2017 Senate bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Representative Steve Cohen (D – TN) introduced a similar version to the House on Thursday as well, with Don Young (R – AK) being a cosponsor. (Click link to follow House bill)
Senator Booker and Rep. Cohen both introduced similar bills in 2015, which were known as the CARERS (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States) Acts.
The CARERS Act of 2015 in the House had 43 cosponsors, while it had 19 cosponsors in Senate.
According to Trey Williams, the CARERS Act would “prevent the federal government from prosecuting businesses and individuals in states where medical marijuana is legal, since federally marijuana is still illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions wanted Congress to “undo protections for the industry under the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. That amendment, which is tied to the federal appropriations bill, prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to enforce federal prohibition in states with legal marijuana laws” (Williams).
The CARERS Act would allow doctors to recommend marijuana to veterans in legal states and provide researchers with more access to cannabis, which Williams claims has been an issue.
“The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana,” said Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum.