A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives is introducing comprehensive medical marijuana legislation on Thursday. The move comes just days after the revelation that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to Congressional leaders requesting the deletion of a current budget rider preventing the Justice Department from interfering with state medical cannabis laws.
The new bills would protect state-legal medical marijuana activity from federal interference, allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis, remove CBD from the Controlled Substances Act and expand research on marijuana.
Initial sponsors of the legislation are: Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mike Lee (R-UT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rand Paul (R-KY), Al Franken (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). A House version will also have bipartisan backing.
Building off of similar legislation that earned a substantial number of cosponsors in both chambers last Congress, the new versions contain some changes intended to garner even more support. In particular, the new legislation removes earlier provisions aimed at increasing marijuana businesses’ access to banks and to reschedule cannabis. (Separate pending bills address these issues.)
Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority, released the following statement:
“A majority of states now have comprehensive medical marijuana laws on the books, and a supermajority of Americans support letting patients access cannabis without fear of arrest. It’s well past time for Congress to modernize federal law so that people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and PTSD don’t have to worry about Jeff Sessions sending in the DEA to arrest them or their suppliers. The diverse group of lawmakers behind this new legislation shows that medical cannabis is an issue of compassion, not partisan politics.”
Lawmakers will hold a press conference to discuss the legislation at 1:45 PM ET.
Last year’s versions of the legislation can be found at:
Text of the new versions will be available later on Thursday per request.
Marijuana Majority is dedicated to making sure the media, politicians and government officials treat marijuana as a serious issue that is important to a growing majority of Americans.
Source: Marijuana Majority press release