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house Bill H.R. 127

Does the Federal Government Need to Respect State Medical Marijuana Laws?

Argument in favor

This would finally put a stop to federal interference in state medical marijuana laws that voters asked for. Marijuana has a legitimate medical use, and this bill will protect patients and their caregivers from prosecution.

Absolutely honestly It’s a plant that grows naturally on our planet and is not made my pharmaceutical companies

Argument opposed

Medical marijuana is often abused by people who just want to use marijuana recreationally. The federal government shouldn’t enable that, and needs to make an example of those who exploit the system.

Keith 's Opinion
No, the federal government does not need to recognize state laws which legalize marijuana.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 127?

This bill would allow people to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution. It would not legalize medical marijuana at the federal level, but would simply respect the laws of the 23 states plus the District of Columbia and Guam that have legalized medical marijuana.

Marijuana would also be reclassified from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug in order to recognize its accepted medical use — opening the door for states to set their own policies with respect to medical marijuana.

Doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would also be able to prescribe marijuana to veterans under their care. Currently, marijuana is not recognized by the VA as a valid treatment option because of federal law, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.

This bill would also modify federal law to allow banks to provide financial services to legal medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state laws. Cannabidiol — a part of marijuana’s chemistry profile that used to make synthetic marijuana — would be excluded from the definition of marijuana, thus allowing states to determine the status of cannabidiol.


Anyone who uses medical marijuana products, patients in states where medical marijuana is legal, veterans receiving care from the VA in medical marijuana states, local law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Attorney General.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 127

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

Of NoteAt the end of the 113th Congress in December 2014, Congress included a measure in the so-called “Cromnibus” preventing the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from prosecuting medical marijuana cases where the defendants are complying with state laws. That followed an uptick in raids related to medical marijuana, which led some to criticize the Obama administration for its stance on large-scale producers and retailers of marijuana.

Sponsoring Rep. Steve Cohen (D-NJ) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to give state marijuana laws primacy over the federal prohibition, and allow states to legalize and regulate their own marijuana markets:

“The national consensus on medical marijuana is solid and bipartisan, but our federal drug laws continue to treat patients and their doctors like criminals. Our bill would bring federal medical marijuana policy in line with the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans by allowing states to set their own marijuana laws, allowing patients, including veterans, to receive the treatments they need from their doctors and improving opportunities for research on marijuana.”

When he originally introduced this bill in the 114th Congress, Rep. Cohen said of his bill

“Drug policy reform is long overdue, but I am pleased that today it is an issue that unites both Democrats and Republicans. The science has been in for a long time, and keeping marijuana on Schedule I -- with heroin and LSD -- is ludicrous.”

On the other side of the aisle in the Senate in the 114th Congress, this legislation received bipartisan support from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who signed on as a lead cosponsor, adding

“We want to take [marijuana] down to Schedule II, so doctors can prescribe this more easily. We don’t want doctors to be punished for simply trying to help people.”

The Veterans Cannabis Coalition, along with the Southern California Veterans Coalition, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, and others, supports this bill. In a letter to Reps. Cohen and Don Young (R-AK), the Veterans Cannabis Coalition writes:

"The CARERS Act would fulfill several immediate needs of national cannabis reform such as enshrining certain protections for legally compliant individuals and businesses dealing with medical cannabis... The Veterans Cannabis Coalition is joined by veteran advocates from across the country in supporting this effort at broad reform, including: Southern California Veterans Coalition, High Ground Veterans Advocacy, Veterans Ananda, Marine Qweenz, Operation EVAC, New England Veterans Alliance, Florida Mission Zero, and Veterans Alliance for Compassionate Access."

In some states where medical marijuana has been legalized, there have been accusations of people abusing the marijuana they’re entrusted to grow as caregivers, or that the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card is too easy.

This bill has four cosponsors in the current Congress, including three Republicans and one Democrat. Last Congress, it had the support of 30 bipartisan cosponsors, including 16 Democrats and 14 Republicans, but didn't make it out of committee. In the 114th Congress, it had the support of 43 cosponsors, including 29 Democrats and 14 Republicans, but didn't make it out of committee.

In-Depth: Multiple pieces of legislation on marijuana policy were introduced in the 115th Congress. These included a trio of bills from Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) seeking to expand veterans' access to medical marijuana and multiple bills related to marijuana legalization in various forms.


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Dank Depot)


CARERS Act of 2019

Official Title

To extend the principle of federalism to State drug policy, provide access to medical marijuana, and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana.