Blog Voices from the Frontlines
Reintroduced CARERS Act Would Protect States' Rights, Medical Marijuana Patients - Americans for Safe Access
By Thomas Mitchell for Westword
Days after a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions surfaced, asking congressional leaders to revoke federal protections for medical marijuana, senators have introduced a bill that would protect medical marijuana patients in states where it's legal while also removing cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act and expanding research on marijuana.
Great news: the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act of 2017 was introduced in the U.S. Senate this afternoon!
The bill is being introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Al Franken (Minnesota), and Rand Paul (Kentucky). This year, we have two new Republican senators who are joining the fight to protect access to our medicine - Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Senator Mike Lee (Utah).
The CARERS Act is vital legislation that will safeguard patients in states with medical cannabis programs, and expand research opportunities so that we learn even more about our medicine. For the past three years, we have been the driving force behind this legislation to help push it forward, working hard each and every day to make sure that it would be introduced and included additional co-sponsors this year. We worked closely with Senators and their staff to make sure that important protections were included in the bill’s language.
The hundreds of patient advocates who visited their Members of Congress at this year’s National Unity Conference sent Congress a strong message:
We need the CARERS Act!
And now, with the bill’s introduction this afternoon at a press conference coordinated by ASA staff, CARERS is becoming a reality. There is no way we could have done all of this without the support of members like you.
So how can you help pass CARERS?
Here's 3 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now
Donate to ASA.
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Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced With New Sponsors, Improved Chance for Passage; Advocates Praise Legislation As ‘Critical’ - Americans for Safe Access
Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect the States Bipartisan (CARERS) Act Introduced with Senators Booker, Lee, Paul, Murkowski, Gillibrand, and Franken
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senators 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) introduced the most comprehensive medical cannabis bill in the United States Senate to date. Several elected officials argue that CARERS, which has already garnered bipartisan support in the House and Senate, could be a solution to the nation’s opioid epidemic. The bill would also protect users of medical cannabis who comply with state laws from unwarranted federal prosecution and expand the opportunity for medical and scientific research on the uses and effects of medical cannabis.
The bipartisan CARERS Act reduces the role of the federal government in formulating drug policy and allows states to make determinations on their own drug policies. Giving the power to decide drug policy to the states reinforces the principles of federalism on which our country was founded.
By the Associated Press for WTOP
No other U.S. state is taking the research-before-legislation route because they realize it is futile, said Jahan Marcu of Americans for Safe Access, a national medical cannabis advocacy group.
“It’s never been shown to work in the past, so we are not confident that it’s going to serve the needs of patients,” he said of the process.
Amid a drug crisis that kills 91 people in the U.S. each day, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked Congress to help roll back protections that have shielded medical marijuana dispensaries from federal prosecutors since 2014, according to a letter made public this week. Those legal controls—which bar Sessions’s Justice Department from funding crackdowns on the medical cannabis programs legalized by 29 states and Washington, D.C.—jeopardize the DoJ’s ability to combat the country’s “historic drug epidemic” and control dangerous drug traffickers, the attorney general wrote in the letter sent to lawmakers.
If You Don’t Think Jeff Sessions is a Threat You’re Not Paying Attention - Americans for Safe Access
On Monday, a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that highlights his opposition to medical cannabis became public. While the Administration had previously given somewhat vague statements about their intentions relating to medical cannabis, this letter provides clear cut opposition to appropriations riders that prevent the Department of Justice from expending funds against medical cannabis activities. The letter requested that leaders of congress not restrict the Department of Justice’s funding in the prosecution of state medical cannabis laws.
Americans for Safe Access’s Patient Focused Certification standards for medical marijuana accepted as foundational recommendations
Last week, global standards organization ASTM International and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) announced that they will develop standards for the cannabis industry. Under the agreement, ASTM International will coordinate standards development activities for the cannabis industry, while AHPA will gain recognition for its technical contributions and regulatory recommendations. The AHPA standards are the basis of the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program that is used internationally to assess regulatory compliance at medical cannabis operations, and to educate the medical cannabis industry and program administrators.
Dozens of medical cannabis patients and industry advocates gathered this morning in front of the courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland to protest further delays to the state’s medical cannabis program. The potential delays came from a restraining order issued by a Circuit Court Judge, preventing the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) from awarding any further licenses. The restraining order was initiated as a result of allegations by a company not awarded a contract that the MMCC discriminated against minority-owned businesses. To date, the commission has only issued one license to a medical cannabis business.
Physicians, Patients, Members of Americans for Safe Access Rally to Protect Access to Medical Cannabis in Maryland - Americans for Safe Access
Baltimore, MD — On Friday, June 2nd, physicians, cannabis industry professionals, and members of Americans for Safe Access will rally to protect patient access to medical cannabis throughout Maryland State. After more than four years since its legalization, medical cannabis patients are now months away from accessing prescribed medicinal cannabis in Maryland, unless Baltimore City Circuit Court decides to halt licensing of medical cannabis growers.