rand paul

U.S.: Senators to Attorney General Sessions: Reassure Hemp Industry You Will Uphold the Law

Jeff Sessions Uphold Law

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to address their constituents’ concerns regarding the hemp industry’s access to financial services by confirming the Department of Justice will respect Congress’ recent actions on industrial hemp pilot programs.

U.S.: Federal Bills Seek To Reclassify Drug Possession Felonies as Misdemeanors

U.S. Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On June 27, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison (D) reintroduced the Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment Act of 2017, known as the RESET Act. The bipartisan legislation would reclassify specific low-level, non-violent drug possession felonies as misdemeanors. On May 27, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the original bill, S. 1252 in the United States Senate.

United States: Congress Revives Federal Medical Cannabis Legislation with CARERS Act

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A new federal bill, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS), sponsored by Senator 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), would take four major actions to protect state medical marijuana programs. The bill would prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws, allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend cannabis in legal states, expand research on cannabis, and remove cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

U.S.: Senate To Hold Homeland Security Hearing On Alternatives To Drug War

TheWarOnDrugsIsAWarOnUs

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold an unprecedented roundtable hearing on Wednesday morning, June 15, 2016, entitled "America's Insatiable Demand for Drugs: Examining Alternative Approaches." The hearing comes at a time where the country is struggling to tackle the opioid epidemic, and policy makers are in search of innovative solutions that avoid the mistakes of the War On Drugs.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), will lay out his vision for ending the war on drugs and forging ahead with new policies based on science, health and human rights. In his written testimony, Nadelmann affirms that "A new approach is needed, one that reduces both the harm caused by drugs and the harm caused by current drug control policies."

“I’ve waited a very long time to be invited by Congress to testify on these issues,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “I think it’s a positive sign that political leaders, not just in the states but even on Capitol Hill, now recognize both the failure of the drug war and the need to think outside the box in addressing our country’s drug problems.”

U.S.: NCIA Calls On Sen. Grassley To Hold Hearings On Marijuana Legislation

ChuckGrassleySad[TheUSConstitution.org]

As Grassley holds outdated prohibitionist hearing, he continues to obstruct bipartisan efforts to help medical marijuana patients and providers

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) on Monday called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to respect the will of the voters and bipartisan members of his own committee by holding hearings on the CARERS Act.

The CARERS Act is bipartisan legislation, originally introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY), that would allow patients access to medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution and open up new avenues for research into marijuana's medical potential.

While he continues to obstruct any action to help critically ill patients and the providers who care for them, Senator Grassley is holding a Monday hearing designed to conjure up outdated prohibitionist fear-mongering.

U.S.: Bernie Sanders Introduces First-Ever Senate Bill To End Marijuana Prohibition

BernieSanders[AlexWong-GettyImages]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) on Wednesday introduced a bill that would repeal all federal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana, allowing states to establish their own marijuana laws. The bill is available online at http://www.mpp.org/sandersbill.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015” strikes all references to marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, but retains penalties for transporting marijuana from states or jurisdictions where it is legal to those where it is not. It is the fourth marijuana policy reform bill to ever be introduced in the Senate, and it is the first that proposes ending marijuana prohibition at the federal level.

The introduction comes shortly after a Gallup poll showed 58 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, regulation, and taxation, and after Senator Sanders’s announcement of his own support of legalization, the first major-party presidential candidate to do so.

Earlier this year, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced medical marijuana legislation, known as the CARERS Act. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a bill to address the tax status of marijuana businesses, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced a measure that would allow marijuana businesses to access banking services.

U.S.: Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Stalls Despite Increased Support

GOPvsMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Support for a federal medical marijuana bill is building. The momentum is almost palpable from one day to the next, and the wave perhaps hasn't crested -- but the bill still isn't getting the Republican support it needs in the U.S. Senate.

Two more influential Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer of New York and Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland (both states recently legalized medicinal cannabis) announced their support for the bill that would reschedule marijuana and let states set their own medical marijuana policies. But the bill needs more Republicans, reports Matthew Fleming at Roll Call.

The bill has just two Republican cosponsors, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, an original cosponsor, and Dean Heller of Nevada. Getting any more has been difficult.

"It's a slow process and we're trying," Paul said last week, adding there are "several" other Republicans considered possibilities -- but none are officially onboard yet.

Sixteen senators support the bill, including Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey, the original sponsor, and Kirsten Gillebrand of New York an original cosponsor. Booker referred questions about Republican outreach to his office, which didn't respond to requests for comment.

New York: Sen. Schumer Throws Weight Behind Federal Medical Marijuana Bill

NYSenChuckSchumer-USE-[AP]

Senator Chuck Schumer Joins NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in Sponsoring the CARERS Act, a Bill that Would End Federal Prohibition of Medical Marijuana

New York Patients and Families Applaud Schumer for His Support

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday added his name to the Senate’s sweeping medical marijuana bill. The CARERS Act, introduced in March by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Rand Paul (R-KY), would end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and remove barriers for research, veterans, and banking.

The move comes just days before New York State is expected to announce the names of five companies that will be allowed to produce medical marijuana in New York. New York’s medical marijuana program is expected to become fully operational in January 2016.

New York patients expressed their gratitude for Senator Schumer’s support.

“Chuck Schumer sided with patients and their families yesterday when he agreed to co-sponsor the CARERS Act,” said Kate Hintz of North Salem, N.Y., whose daughter Morgan suffers from a severe seizure disorder. “I’m proud to be from a state where both Senators – Gillibrand and Schumer – have recognized the importance of medical marijuana.

"Families, like mine, should be able to use medical marijuana when a doctor recommends it without having to worry about federal interference," Hintz said. "I hope the rest of our leaders in Washington will follow the lead of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, act quickly to pass the CARERS Act, and help relieve patient suffering.”

U.S.: Marijuana Banking Bill Introduced By Bipartisan Group Of Senators

FirstBankOfCannabis[USE]

Legislation Would Allow Marijuana Businesses Access to Financial Services

Marijuana Businesses Currently Operate as Cash-Only Causing Huge Public Safety Concerns

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Thursday introduced the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act, a bill that would allow banks to provide depository and other financial services to state-legal marijuana businesses.

Currently, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, both medical and non-medical marijuana businesses are unable to access banking services like any other business. Consequently, many cannabis businesses operate on a cash-only basis, leading to huge public safety issues as businesses become the target of robberies, and are forced to hire armed security to protect their takings.

“One of the motivations for legalizing marijuana is to eliminate the black market and put marijuana in the hands of a legitimate regulated market,” said Michael Collins, policy manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Whether you are for or against legalization, you have to recognize that having marijuana businesses handling huge amounts of cash with nowhere to deposit the money is a public safety concern that Congress has to tackle.”

U.S.: Obama Administration Removes Crucial Barrier To Marijuana Research

MarijuanaResearchCartoon[TheColumbian]

Big Win for Marijuana Reform Advocates but More Has to Be Done

Senate Hearing on Medical Marijuana Scheduled for Wednesday

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a long-sought move anticipated by many marijuana reform advocates, the White House on Monday announced that it was removing a major obstacle to marijuana research – the Public Health Service (PHS) Review.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) welcomed the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to eliminate its Public Health Service (PHS) Review Committee for non-federally funded medical marijuana research – an additional review process not applied to other Schedule I substances. Last year, Rep. Blumenauer led a letter, signed by 29 other members of Congress, to the Secretary of HHS Sylvia Mathews Burwell requesting that this PHS process be eliminated.

“Today’s decision by HHS is a significant step toward improving an antiquated system that unfairly targets marijuana above and beyond other substances in research," Congressman Bluemanuer said. "I applaud the Administration in heeding our request and the request of many to eliminate this barrier.

"I hope this action will facilitate easier access to marijuana for medical researchers,” Rep. Blumenauer said. “Considering the widespread use of medical marijuana, it is absolutely essential that we allow doctors and scientists to research the therapeutic benefits and risks of its use.

Ohio: New Video Tells Story of Young Epilepsy Patient Without Safe Access To Medical Marijuana

SophiasStory

Moving Video Features Struggle and Frustration of Ohio Family That Has Run Out of Treatment Options for Their Daughter

The Drug Policy Alliance and Learn Liberty have teamed up to tell the emotional story of Sophia Nazzarine, a 7-year-old girl suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy, in a new video.

Between clips of Sophia singing and playing with her parents in her hometown of Cincinnati, the audience is shown saddening footage of Sophia seizing as a newborn, while her parents describe their discovery of Sophia’s epilepsy and their exhaustive struggle to find an effective treatment.

“We’ve tried everything else that they could possibly come up with to try and stop these seizures,” says Scott Nazzarine, Sophia’s father. “None of it has worked. We need legislation that allows our child to get the medicine she needs. But with or without it, we will continue to give our child what she needs to reduce her dangerous seizures.”

Sophia’s story is complemented by interviews with doctors, explaining her condition and the strong potential for its treatment with marijuana.

“The belief is that it’s the cannabidiol portion of [the marijuana plant] that seems to have less intoxicating effects and more of the anti-seizure effects,” explained Dr. Michael D. Privitera, professor of Neurology at the University of Cincinnati.

U.S.: House Version of Groundbreaking Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

SteveCohenUSRepTN

Bill Follows Historic Introduction of the CARERS Act by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Support for Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies Without Federal Interference Growing Rapidly in Congress

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) have introduced the House companion to a groundbreaking bill legalizing marijuana for medical use that was introduced in the Senate two weeks ago by Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York). Senators Dean Heller (R-Nevada) and Barbara Boxer (D-California) co-sponsored the bill soon after.

“Reforming our nation’s failed drug policies is one of the few issues Democrats and Republicans can agree on,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The tide is quickly turning against marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs in general.”

D.C.: Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group To Host 3rd Annual Conference

ASAConferenceAdUSAToday-MedicalMarijuanaLawsAreNotChangingThemselvesWeAre

Scientists, patients, doctors, advocates, lawyers, policymakers unite to further advance public health policy reforms

Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), will hold its third annual national Unity Conference, "Wellness is Winning," in Washington, D.C. on March 27-31, 2015.

The conference will highlight medical and legal experts, policymakers, and a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. On Tuesday, March 31, ASA will host a press conference at 11 a.m., followed by a lobby day with hundreds of patient advocates.

What: Third Annual National Unity Conference, "Wellness is Winning"
When: March 27-31, 2015, including a press conference at 11 a.m. on March 31
Where: Loews Madison Hotel, 1177 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C.; press conference will be on the Capitol grounds
Media is invited to attend the conference at no charge; participants are encouraged to register in advance.

"Patients and advocates are excited to be gathering this year after an historic victory in Congress, which paved the way for a very promising bill in the U.S. Senate," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "Hundreds of patients and advocates will gather in the nation's capitol next week with a unified goal to urge Congress to adopt sensible federal medical marijuana policy reform."

U.S. Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum In Senate

CoryBookerKirstenGillibrandRandPaul

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's funny what a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday, when a federal medical marijuana bill was introduced by three Senators, many political observers dismissed its chances out of hand. But now the push to legalize medicinal cannabis at the federal level is gaining momentum in the Senate, drawing co-sponsors from both parties.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, introduced by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, provide access to banking services for cannabis businesses, and potentially fuel more medical research into the herb, reports Jake Miller at CBS News.

"The time has come for the federal government to stop impeding the doctor-patient relationship in states that have decided their own medical marijuana policies," said Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada), as he signed onto the proposal last week.

"This bipartisan legislation puts Americans who are suffering first by allowing Nevada's medical marijuana patients, providers, and businesses that are in compliance with state law, to no longer be in violation of federal law and vulnerable to federal prosecution," Sen. Heller said.

New York: Senators To Meet With Families About Federal Medical Marijuana Bill

SenatorsKirstenGillibrand(D-NY)AndCoryBooker(D-NJ)[TonightAtDawn]

SUNDAY: Gillibrand & Booker to Meet with NY, NJ Families About New Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill to Allow Patients to Access Necessary Care without Fear of Federal Prosecution

Five Local Families with Children & Loved Ones in Need of Treatment Will Join Senators to Discuss Landmark Proposal to Let States Legalize Medical Marijuana

Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Sunday, March 15, will join five New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution.

Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.

Earlier this week, Senators Gillibrand and Booker with Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would respect the states that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in those states.

The families who will meet with Gillibrand and Booker would be able to access treatment for conditions medical marijuana has been shown to help control, like epilepsy and seizures.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and Epilepsy Foundation will also join the families and Senators.

Date: Sunday, March 15, 2015

Time: 2:00 PM

U.S.: Senators Introduce Sweeping Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill To Protect Patients

Cannabis-Reform-Is-Congress-Listening[Wellspring-Collective]

Hundreds of patient advocates will gather in Washington, DC on March 31 to lobby for passage of Senate bill

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Comprehensive medical marijuana legislation was introduced Tuesday in the U.S. Senate for the first time in the nation's history.

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act to end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies. The CARERS Act is endorsed by several advocacy groups including Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which helped Senate authors develop the legislation.

The CARERS Act will reclassify marijuana for medical use, overhaul the banking laws so as not to punish licensed businesses, allow veterans to have access to medical marijuana, and eliminate current barriers to research.

Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have adopted medical marijuana laws, and another twelve states have adopted laws allowing for the consumption of a specific form of cannabis known as cannabidiol or CBD commonly used to treat seizure disorders.

U.S.: Rep. Blumenauer Applauds Historic Senate Medical Marijuana Bill

EarlBlumenauer(Congressman-D-OR)[LadyBud]

Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, one of the staunchest supporters of cannabis law reform in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday praised the historic medical marijuana bill introduced in the Senate.

“Senators Paul, Booker, and Gillibrand took an historic step today by introducing a medical marijuana bill in the United States Senate – the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act," Rep. Blumenauer said. "This bill would bring much needed relief to the patients, businesses, and physicians who participate in legal state medical marijuana systems that exist in a confusing patchwork of state and federal laws.

"Last Congress, the House voted six times in favor of reforming our outdated marijuana and hemp laws," Rep. Blumenauer said. "Over a dozen bills have been introduced, many with bipartisan support. The Senate bill builds on this momentum and incorporates many of the provisions that gained significant traction in the House.

"I am happy to see the inclusion of language similar to our bill, HR 667: The Veterans Equal Access Act, which will ensure that our veterans can access medical marijuana in states where it is legal," Rep. Blumenauer said. " I am also excited to see language to reduce barriers to medical marijuana research, which is an issue I will continue to champion. The bill will also offer much needed certainty for banks that provide financial services to marijuana businesses, which often must operate as unsafe cash only enterprises.

U.S.: Here's What's In The Historic Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Being Introduced Tuesday

MedicalMarijuana[WKYT]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The historic medical marijuana bill being introduced in the United States Senate on Tuesday -- the first ever such bill ever introduced in the Senate -- would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana. Beyond that, however, it would also implement a number of critical reforms that advocates have been seeking for years, according to those familiar with the legislation.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) act grew from an amendment proposed last year by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and is now being introduced by those two Senators along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), reports Niraj Chokshi at The Washington Post. It would reclassify cannabis, allow for limited interstate transport of it, expand access for research, make it easier for doctors to authorize veterans to use it, and make it easier for banks to provide services to the marijuana industry.

"it's the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill in Congress," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). The DPA and other activist organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) were consulted in drafting the bill. Advocates say they are mostly pleased with what they've seen and heard.

U.S.: Bill To End Federal Medical Marijuana Prohibition To Be Introduced In Senate

CallYourSenatorsTodayTellThemToEndTheWarOnCannabisPatients!

Measure sponsored by Sens. Rand Paul, Corey Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand marks the first time in history that the Senate will consider a proposal to make medical marijuana legal under federal law

A bill will be introduced on Tuesday in the United States Senate which would end the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana.

U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Tuesday will introduce the bill.

It will be the first time in history that the Senate considers a proposal to make medical marijuana legal under federal law.

“This is a significant step forward when it comes to reforming marijuana laws at the federal level," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "The vast majority of Americans support laws that allow seriously ill people to access medical marijuana.

"Several marijuana policy reform bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives," Riffle said. "The introduction of this legislation in the Senate demonstrates just how seriously this issue is being taken on Capitol Hill.

“The bipartisan nature of this proposal reflects the broad public support for resolving the tension between state and federal marijuana laws," Riffle said. "This is a proposal that Republicans and Democrats should both be able to get behind.

U.S.: Sen. Ted Cruz Says He Supports States' Rights To Legalize Marijuana

TedCruzUSSenatorTexas

At least these days, both major political parties in the United States are smart enough to jockey for position on the marijuana issue rather than running away from as they did in the recent past. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Thursday told attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference that he supports states’ rights to legalize and regulate marijuana, notwithstanding federal law.

Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity asked Sen. Cruz whether it was a good or bad idea for Colorado to legalize and regulate marijuana, to which he replied:

“Look I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called ‘the laboratories of democracy.’ If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative. I personally don’t agree with it, but that’s their right.”

A video of the exchange is available at http://bit.ly/1aqXrAC .

Sen. Cruz is the latest Republican presidential hopeful to take such a position. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) have also said they think the federal government should not interfere in states that legalize marijuana.

“Marijuana policy reform is, at its heart, a conservative issue," said Don Murphy, a former Republican state legislator from Maryland now serving as a federal policies analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "This is a matter of Federalism, the 10th Amendment, and state autonomy, which are core conservative priorities.

Syndicate content