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senate Bill S. 1374

Do the Feds Need to Butt Out of 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.

David's Opinion
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09/03/2017
I live in an area where marijuana is legalized for both medical and recreational use. Not only has crime NOT increased, our tax revenue has increased significantly. It has not caused any problems in the community. This should be the model for the entire country. Make it legal and tax it.
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BeStrong's Opinion
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09/03/2017
Yes and yes. State laws, duly approved by their citizens, should not be superseded by Federal law enforcement. Keep the Federal government out of State business. And someone tell AG Sessions that the 'just say no' war against drugs was a failure.
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Brian's Opinion
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06/23/2017
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. We need to rethink the War on Drugs.
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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.

Sarah's Opinion
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09/03/2017
The Federal government should make medical marijuana legal.
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Nina's Opinion
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09/03/2017
Marijuana should be categorized as a recreational drug, similar to alcohol and nicotine. The way it has been designated "medical" has sent a very confusing message to young people. Many interpret "medical" as "healthy", and it is not - especially for developing brains. Marijuana has many compounds that can be used for medical purposes, alone or in combination, but like any other medications should go through clinical trials and FDA approval before being distributed through typical pharmacies - not shady "dispensaries". We have gone about getting marijuana approved as a recreational drug backwards, and labeling it "medical" harms our youth. Please stop this practice.
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DrRichSwier's Opinion
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09/03/2017
Medical marijuana inextricably leads to mental health issues, addiction and crime. In Florida we passed a bad medical marijuana bill with many loopholes. We now have a growing drug problem including opioids addiction and crime. The federal law Trumps state law.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJune 15th, 2017

What is Senate Bill S. 1374?

This bill ― known as the CARERS Act ― 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 29 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.

The bill's full title is the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2017.

Impact

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 Senate Bill S. 1374

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said of his bill

“Federal marijuana policy has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence, and compassion. This bill will help ensure that people who can benefit from medical marijuana -- from children suffering from chronic illnesses to veterans battling PTSD -- can do so without worrying about the federal government standing in the way.”

Lead cosponsor Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) added: 

“For far too long, the federal government has enforced unnecessary laws that have restricted the medical community's ability to determine marijuana's medicinal value and have prohibited Americans from receiving essential care that would alleviate their chronic pain and suffering. Our bill respects the will of the people, and will have a positive impact on the lives of our veterans and children.”


Of Note: At 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.

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.

Media:


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

AKA

CARERS Act of 2017

Official Title

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

    I live in an area where marijuana is legalized for both medical and recreational use. Not only has crime NOT increased, our tax revenue has increased significantly. It has not caused any problems in the community. This should be the model for the entire country. Make it legal and tax it.
    Like (348)
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    The Federal government should make medical marijuana legal.
    Like (71)
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    Yes and yes. State laws, duly approved by their citizens, should not be superseded by Federal law enforcement. Keep the Federal government out of State business. And someone tell AG Sessions that the 'just say no' war against drugs was a failure.
    Like (137)
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    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. We need to rethink the War on Drugs.
    Like (86)
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    Republicans should love this, they are the ones who want more power at the state level. Unless the Fed govt wants to legalize and control and reap the tax benefits then They should leave this issue alone!
    Like (74)
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    Absolutely! Marijuana and the growing of Hemp needs to be legalized across the board!!!! People should be allowed to grow hemp in their backyards like you would any other herb!!!
    Like (54)
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    Congress needs to go at least this far if not legalize it completely. As an herbalist I can tell you that cannabis is a very healing herb. The demonization has always been about making money for lobbyists - not really about making a bad substance illegal.
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    Marijuana should not be considered a Class I drug like heroine or cocaine, rather an herb with medical and sedative property in a lesser category. Because the Feds are unlikely to take such a free minded view anytime soon, though, this bill allowing States rights in this matter makes a lot of sense. Doing so could prove a worthwhile experiment in federalism and might even help in healing the country's current opioid epidemic. It's definitely worth a shot!
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    The Federal Government needs to federally decriminalize marijuana at the VERY LEAST! In addition, LEAVE THE STATES AND THE PEOPLE ALONE!! Some great states are trying to do what they need to do for their residents! Also, STOP ROGUE LAWS allowing for the confiscation of belongings and property! " Civil forfeiture in the United States, also called civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture or occasionally civil seizure, is a controversial legal process in which law enforcement officers take assets from persons suspected of involvement with crime or illegal activity without necessarily charging the ..." (Wikipedia) HOW IS THIS LEGAL?? One more added FACT...ITS A PLANT!! No synthetics of any kind...ALL NATURAL!!
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    Ending the War On Drugs and more specifically the massive Battle on Cannabis is LONG overdue. Allowing states to decide for themselves what medicines or recreational substances their residents can use and how their production/sale is regulated is the most logical immediate solution on this backwards policy
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    Yes. The better solution is to legalize marijuana federally.
    Like (34)
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    Marijuana should be categorized as a recreational drug, similar to alcohol and nicotine. The way it has been designated "medical" has sent a very confusing message to young people. Many interpret "medical" as "healthy", and it is not - especially for developing brains. Marijuana has many compounds that can be used for medical purposes, alone or in combination, but like any other medications should go through clinical trials and FDA approval before being distributed through typical pharmacies - not shady "dispensaries". We have gone about getting marijuana approved as a recreational drug backwards, and labeling it "medical" harms our youth. Please stop this practice.
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    The Feds need to decriminalize and take this off the schedule. Leave states alone!
    Like (21)
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    The Feds have already proven themselves a failure at addressing the "drug war". The only area in which they are currently excelling is by stealing the property of the American people through civil forfeiture. Medical marijuana works. It alleviates horrible suffering more safely than opiates. Yes, there will be those abusing marijuana. If you have not noticed, Brad, our current president and the republican (your) majorities in our government have been causing significant anxiety at home and worldwide. To reduce drug use, consider giving Americans stable homes, stable work, and stable healthcare. Leave medical marijuana to the states, get out of the civil forfeiture "business", and create some stability for the American people.
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    Please support this.
    Like (11)
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    They need to stay the hell out of the states business on this one. The war on drugs is over. Big Pharma is not going to control this too. Give it up. It's always States rights until The Feds figure out a way to profit from it.
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    Can we FINALLY move on from this issue and let the states decide what's best for them? Honestly the "devils lettuce " argument Sessions and his ilk keep pushing is getting tired.
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    Once again, I am confused about when State's rights apply and when they do not. In states that have legalized marijuana these laws were passed by not just state legislatures but by questions placed on the ballot and voted in by citizens. The broad consensus of those I have spoken to or read who live in states where marijuana is legal has been very favorable. In fact, the only complaint I've heard at all is legalized marijuana has attracted too many visitors. (What a lovely problem for businesses to have.) The decision to legalize marijuana was not entered into lightly by any of the states who have done so. In discussing medical marijuana we are taking about legitimate health benefits to cancer patients and seizure patients and a better option than opioids for those with chronic pain. So why is it that the champion of states' rights when it comes to the conservative agenda AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and this administration are threatening to go after them? This is an issue of personal and political bias, not one dealing with the welfare of the people or the nation. State legalization of marijuana presents no harm to national interests and the benefits of medical marijuana are well established and documented. Oklahoma's Senators should support this bill because it is what the people want and because to do otherwise while squawking about states' rights all the time is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.
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    The federal government should respect the legislation of states especially on the issue of marijuana.
    Like (7)
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    Yes they should stay out of the states way on things that is not a federal issue. The Feds are responsible for making sure the Constitution is followed, protecting us from attack foreign or domestic, immigration and naturalization the rest should be left of to state and local and most importantly the individual
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