U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood before a legion of cannabis industry leaders earlier this week in Manhattan and delivered a keynote speech aimed at driving home the need for them to rise up if they ever expect the United States to reform the laws currently hindering the progress of medical marijuana.
During an event for the National Cannabis Industry Association, Gillibrand explained that a bill she is sponsoring would effectively put an end to the trials and tribulations that the medical marijuana industry has experienced for decades.
She said the CARERS Act, which was submitted to Congress in March but has yet to garner enough Republican support to be awarded a hearing, could be the necessary first step towards bringing down the barriers that prevents the nation from fully benefiting from medicinal cannabis.
While 23 states and the District of Columbia have allowed access to cannabis for medicinal purposes, Gillibrand believes federal law has prevented these programs from operating, as they should.
“There’s a conflict between state and federal statute that confuses doctors, patients and providers alike,” she said. “People aren’t sure what’s legal, what’s not and the gray area that resulted is hindering health care and the industry’s development.”
One of the biggest problems with medical marijuana in the United States is that the federal government still considers the substance a Schedule I dangerous drug. And since the higher ups have all but refused to unleash the herb from the confines of these restrictions, it has made it next to impossible for the cannabis industry to operate without the constant looking over the shoulder for surprise attack by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The CARERS Act would remedy this problem, a message that Gillibrand attempted to embed in the minds of the businesspeople and activists in the crowd.
“We have a lot of work to be done to pass this law, and I will need every person’s help in this room,” she said. “We have to raise our voices and tell our elected leaders and ask they support this bill.”
Earlier this year, the announcement of the CARERS Act suggested the bill was being hand delivered to Congress, having already found support with many. However, this legislation has since failed to catch a break with the Republicans in order to move it closer to a hearing.
What do you think? Should legislators move the CARERS Act forward?