Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
File photo of marijuana plants on display for sale at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California, on July 11, 2014. (David McNew/Reuters)
It's a good first step.
A push to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level is gaining momentum in the Senate, drawing a growing roster of co-sponsors from both parties just over a week after it was unveiled.
Though 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, the federal government classifies pot as a Schedule I narcotic, recognizing no appropriate medical uses for the drug. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, introduced last Tuesday by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, providing dispensaries in states that permit medical marijuana with access to the banking system and potentially fueling greater medical research of the drug.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, signed onto the proposal last week, declaring in astatement, "The time has come for the federal government to stop impeding the doctor-patient relationship in states that have decided their own medical marijuana policies."