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

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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.

"It’s a matter of compassion and justice, states’ rights, public safety, and medical choice," Riffle said. "There is no rational reason to maintain laws that prevent doctors from recommending medical marijuana, prohibit seriously ill people from using it, and punishing those who provide it to them.”

“Almost half the states have legalized marijuana for medical use; it’s long past time to end the federal ban,” said Michael Collins, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “This bipartisan legislation allows states to set their own medical marijuana policies and ends the criminalization of patients, their families, and the caregivers and dispensary owners and employees who provide them their medicine.”

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes. Twelve more states have laws on the books or are about to be signed into law by their governors regulating cannabidiol (CBD) oils, a non-psychotropic component of medical marijuana which some parents are utilizing to treat their children’s seizures. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for non-medical use.

Graphic: Healthy Hopes