Bennet Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill Allowing Patients to Access Medical Marijuana

Would Allow Access to Necessary Care without Fear of Federal Prosecution

Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet has signed on as a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill that will allow the use of medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution.

"Colorado and dozens of other states have made medical marijuana legal for patients who are suffering. It's time for the federal government to respect and recognize these decisions by states for the benefit of patients across the country," Bennet said. "Colorado doctors and patients deserve to know with confidence that they can access medical marijuana without fear of federal legal ramifications. This bill would ease those restrictions and give patients peace of mind."

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug to recognize it has accepted medical use, and would amend federal law to allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies. The bill would also permit VA doctors to prescribe veterans medical marijuana to treat serious injuries and chronic conditions.

The bill would not legalize medical marijuana in all 50 states, rather it would respect the states that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevents federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in those states.

Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, including Colorado, and the District of Columbia, and 12 states have laws on the books regulating cannabidiol (CBD) oils, a non-psychotropic component of medical marijuana which some families use to treat their children's seizures.

However federal law leaves doctors who prescribe, patients who use, and businesses that sell medical marijuana vulnerable to arrest. As a currently classified Schedule I drug, federal law also severely restricts medical marijuana research, as well as fair and safe financial services for medical marijuana-related businesses.

The CARERS Act has the support of more than 20 health, veteran and policy organizations, including: American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Safe Access, Drug Policy Alliance , Housing Works, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Marijuana Policy Project, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis, Patients Out of Time, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, The American Cannabis Nurses Association, Third Way, Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access, Veterans for Peace and Veterans for Safe Access and Compassionate Care.

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