Senators Booker and Gillibrand Invited as Guest Witnesses to Testify
Congress under Pressure to Protect Patients and Move CARERS Act
Today at 2:30pm, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism will hold a hearing entitled, “Researching the Potential Medical Benefits and Risks of Marijuana.” Senators will hear from witnesses from the FDA, NIDA, as well as medical professionals who will discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana. Senators Booker (D-NJ) and Gillibrand (D-NY) are also scheduled to testify as guest witnesses.
“Patients and providers following state law should not have to live in fear of federal prosecution,” said Michael Collins, Deputy Director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “This hearing today will hopefully spur Senators to take action to end the futile federal prohibition on medical marijuana.”
The hearing has been organized by Subcommittee Chair Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a cosponsor of the CARERS Act. The legislation’s key component would allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies. Already this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed four amendments that seek to reconcile the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws in favor of the states. Booker and Gillibrand are the lead cosponsors of the CARERS Act and are expected to testify in strong support of their bill, which currently has nineteen cosponsors. Advocates have long called upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to move the bill, so this hearing is viewed as an important step forward.
Currently, 25 states have medical marijuana laws, and an additional 17 have CBD laws. Graham’s hearing on the subject has been viewed as a more even-handed approach than other hearings. In April, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was slammed in the media for holding a “sham” hearing on marijuana legalization that included only witnesses with a record of opposing marijuana reform.