Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced With New Sponsors, Improved Chance for Passage; Advocates Praise Legislation As ‘Critical’

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 CARERS Act is an important piece of legislation to us in the state of South Carolina," stated State Senator Tom Davis (R-SC). "As we try to push forward more comprehensive medical cannabis legislation in our state, our lawmakers want assurance that we are in-step with federal laws. Providing us the ability to move forward without federal interference is a great step in the right direction."

Senator Mike Folmer (R-PA), a driving force behind Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis law, also supports the CARERS Act. Senator Folmer firmly believes a federal initiative will help with the state and nation's opioid overdose epidemic, "That's why I worked so hard to include severe chronic or intractable pain in the Pennsylvania medical cannabis law,” explained Senator Folmer. “We hope the CARERS Act will continue our program without federal interference while having similar results in decreasing opioid overdose deaths seen in other states."

“The advocates and lawmakers in my state have worked tirelessly for the past several years to pass the medical cannabis laws that now exist,” commented Representative, Allen Peake (R-GA). “The patients who rely on medical cannabis, many of whom are children, should not worry about federal criminal prosecution for abiding by state law. The CARERS Act will ensure that this does not occur.”