Congress Already Moving on Marijuana Legislation

Members of the 116th Congress were sworn in today, and a few wasted no time introducing a bill for medical marijuana reform.

Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Don Young (R-AK) re-introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act. The bill aims to allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies and permit doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans to treat serious and chronic conditions. It does not address the issue of federal legalization, but embraces the seemingly popular idea on the Hill that states should create their own marijuana policy.

It will be interesting to see how many members cosign onto the bill. With pressure mounting to reschedule cannabis, this bill does not go far enough for most advocates. Still, it is a solid start in the push for better research involving cannabis. There are huge opportunities on the horizon for hemp and marijuana companies looking to create products for patients with chronic diseases and serious ailments.

Cannabis On The Ballot

Tomorrow is a big day for the Cannabis industry as voters in four states head to the polls. North Dakota and Michigan have full legalization on the ballot, while Utah and Missouri will consider medical marijuana.

The Trump administration was seeking public comment on marijuana reform, and we can expect to hear about a potential shift in federal policy before Spring. We remain optimistic that President Trump will stick to his word and remove Marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

For now, a federal overhaul on cannabis will likely follow the path of Right To Try. Numerous states took the initiative to pass their own versions of what is now federal law. It is looking like marijuana will have to start with a majority of the states approving some sort of program- whether it be medical or full legalization, before Congress will act.

The results of tomorrow’s election should give us some clues into future marijuana legislation on the horizon in 2019.