Senators will introduce a federal medical marijuana bill

by Sean O’Kane, The Verge

Kirsten Gillibrand, Rand Paul, and Cory Booker will introduce a Senate bill to legalize medical marijuana under federal law tomorrow, various outlets are reporting. This bill would mark an unprecedented push to legalize medical use drug on a federal level. We’ve seen a handful of states (and the nation’s capital) legalize recreational marijuana over the last two years, and about half the states have a medical marijuana program, but the proposal — called the “Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act” — would be the widest attempt at legalization yet.

Vox is reporting that the bill will also attempt to reclassify marijuana from Schedule 1 to 2. Schedule 1 drugs are considered dangerous with no medical value, while Schedule 2 classification would recognize marijuana’s medical benefits.

The bill would theoretically build on an important step that was taken back in December; Congress included a measure in the 2015 fiscal spending bill that effectively stopped the federal government from targeting medical marijuana operations in states where they were allowed. It’s also worth noting that this bill will hit the floor with bipartisan support — Booker and Gillibrand are liberal Democrats while Paul is extremely conservative. (Though Paul has shown support for legalization in the past.) We’ll find out whether that support will translate to the rest of the Senate tomorrow when the bill is officially announced at at 12:30PM press conference.

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