Originally published April 29 2015
Bipartisan federal bill recognizing merits of medical cannabis must go further; tell congress to remove marijuana from controlled substances list
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Things are heating up on Capitol Hill in the realm of sensible cannabis policy, with a new bipartisan bill that seeks to further relegate federal prohibition of marijuana to the dustbin of embarrassing and unjust history.
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, or S. 683, introduced by Democratic Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, would recognize the freedom of medical cannabis users in states where medical cannabis is legal.
No longer would the federal justice department be allowed to target and prosecute medical marijuana programs in states where they've been legalized, setting a precedent for states' rights on this important issue. It would also reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II "drug" rather than its current Schedule I status.
The bill would also allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors the freedom to recommend medical cannabis to veterans with serious and chronic health conditions, further expanding the legitimacy of this natural medicine as a viable treatment for various ailments.
"For far too long, the government has enforced unnecessary laws that have restricted the ability of the medical community to determine the medicinal value of marijuana and have prohibited Americans from receiving essential care that would alleviate their chronic pain and suffering," stated Sen. Paul about the bill.
"I am proud today to stand with Sens. Gillibrand and Booker to introduce a bill that will fundamentally change our nation's drug policies and have a positive impact on the lives of our Veterans and children."
Nearly half the country has legalized medical cannabis - when will the federal government get on board? While S. 683 wouldn't legalize medical cannabis in all 50 states, it would prohibit the federal government from interfering with those states that have approved medical marijuana programs of their own accord. Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis.
"Reefer Madness is neither medical research nor public policy," said Utah Republican Senator Mark Madsen in defense of medical cannabis. Madsen recently tried to reform cannabis laws within his own state through a medical marijuana bill known as S.B. 259.
"It's propaganda, and we can't be basing our policy on propaganda."
Cannabis must be completely removed from Controlled Substances List Though definitely a step in the right direction, S. 683 still lacks in fully decriminalizing cannabis, a natural plant, in the way that it should be. Cannabis most assuredly needs to be removed from its Schedule I classification and taken off the Controlled Substances List entirely, but the feds are trying to place it on Schedule II instead. Why?
Cannabis isn't a drug; it's a plant. It isn't even psychoactive unless dried and heated (and even its psychoactive properties have medically beneficial properties), and it's a viable source of food and nutritional medicine. It has no negative side effects, it isn't physically addictive, and it directly feeds the body's built-in endocannabinoid system.
There's absolutely no legitimate reason for cannabis to be looked at any differently from a tomato plant, yet the prohibitionist mindset that still plagues our governmental structure is locking people away for the non-crime of possessing, using and growing this all-natural herb.
If you consider yourself a conservative and truly care about freedom, ending cannabis prohibition should be a top priority on your list of government reforms. Cannabis is orders of magnitude safer than both alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs, and it's been medically proven as highly beneficial for a variety of health conditions, without causing any harm.
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