capitol-hill-and-the-cherry-blossom-capitol-hill-washington-dc-washington-dcSimply put change is coming and the tipping point in favor or medical marijuana inches ever closer in the halls of congress.  Bipartisan legislation was introduced on March 10th, 2015 in the U.S. Senate proposing to change federal law such that states could regulate the medical use of marijuana without fear of prosecution.

An unlikely team of Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) stood with parents and patients to discuss The CARERS Act: The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act.

The major aim of the six-part legislation (S.683) is to reclassify marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act to Schedule II, thereby changing the plant from a federally-criminalized substance to one that has recognized medical uses.

This “downscheduling” would put marijuana in the same class as opioid narcotic pain relievers such as morphine and oxycodone. Currently, marijuana is on the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule I, the most restrictive classification of controlled substances, reserved for drugs with high addiction potential and no accepted medical use.

The CARERS Act would remove the potential for federal prosecution of anyone using marijuana for medical purposes, leaving states free to regulate the substances as their legislatures see fit. Together with reclassifying marijuana on the federal controlled substances list, the CARERS Act opens the door for four significant advances.

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