[JURIST] A bipartisan group of three US Senators on Tuesday announced legislation to end the federal ban on medical marijuana. The bill, called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, was announced by senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) [official websites]. If passed, the bill would end the federal restriction on medical marijuana and allow for several comprehensive reforms [WP report], including: permission for limited interstate transport, an expansion of access to cannabis for research purposes, and reclassification of marijuana under Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) [official website] standards from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, which would allow doctors to recommend the drug to veterans, and banks to provide services to the industry. While the issue of recreational marijuana is still being debated, medical marijuana, and each state’s ability to decide how to regulate it, has found bipartisan [WP report] support in both the House and the Senate.
The legalization of medical marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] has found even more legal support [Marijuana Policy Project website] in recent months. In July US Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) [official website] introduced a bill [JURIST report] that would nationally legalize the utilization of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, or marijuana extract, which is used to treat seizures in epileptic children. Just last week the governor of Virginia signed [JURIST report] a piece of legislation that allows the use of CBD and THC-A oils for the treatment of severe epilepsy. In July New York became the twenty-third state to support legalized medical marijuana, when the governor signed [JURIST report] the Compassionate Care Act [text] into law. However, the UN has voiced concerns [JURIST report] that state legalization of medical marijuana contradicts existing international drug conventions, which seek to prevent illegal distribution of drugs, trafficking and abuse.