Senators announce legislation to end federal medical marijuana prohibition
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced today sweeping bipartisan legislation that will end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and allow patients, doctors and businesses in states with medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of prosecution.
“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. “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.”
Senator John Cornyn, (R-TX) has not commented on this bill, but has said in the past that he opposes marijuana legalization.
Cornyn said he worries that decriminalization, medical usage and removing marijuana laws from federal enforcement is a slippery slope “where a similar attitude would be embraced with regards to other illegal drugs and dangerous substances.”
Senator Ted Cruz, (R-TX) has somewhat relaxed his stance on marijuana, stating that it should be up to each individual state to enforce their own marijuana laws, whether they be criminal, medical, or legal. He has not commented on this legislation either.
However, earlier this year a spokesperson for Cruz released a statement saying “Teenagers are often known for their lack of judgment, and Sen. Cruz was no exception. When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he’s never tried it since.”
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.
Recent polling by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune shows that Texans overwhelmingly agree on the topic of cannabis, with 76 percent supporting changing marijuana laws whether it be for less penalties, medical marijuana, or full legalization.
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