CARERS: One Year Later
Drug Policy Alliance
March 15, 2016

The following is an excerpt of a letter from the Drug Policy Alliance urging support for the CARERS Act:

Last March, DPA worked with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Rand Paul, and Cory Booker to introduce the most comprehensive piece of marijuana legislation the U.S. Senate had ever seen — the CARERS Act.

It was your support that made this possible, and now one year later I want to update you on where we stand.

The CARERS Act amends the federal Controlled Substances Act to make it legal to grow, use, distribute, and sell marijuana for medical use in states where it’s legal. It’s the first step to ending the federal prohibition of marijuana for good.

The bill was introduced with a coordinated media and messaging push across the country. On the day of its introduction the New York Times ran an editorial calling for its passage, and our members sent thousands of messages to the Senate demanding a vote.

A year later the CARERS Act still sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee awaiting a vote. But even without a vote, its introduction and the targeted campaign that followed have had a lasting impact on marijuana reform.

Before the CARERS Act there had never been a vote on marijuana reform in the Senate.

But its introduction changed the narrative in Washington, and helped us score three key victories in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Last year the Appropriations Committee voted to protect medical marijuana laws, allow veterans access to medical marijuana for treatment, and allow marijuana businesses to access banking services.

Only our amendment protecting medical marijuana laws made it into the final spending bill, and it’s only a one-year fix. But I’ve been lobbying to end the drug war for over 15 years, and I can tell you that without the introduction of the CARERS Act these votes would have never taken place in the Senate.

Now on the one year anniversary of its introduction we’re seeing momentum build again. Lindsey Graham, a key member of the Judiciary Committee and former Presidential candidate, recently co-sponsored the bill. And just yesterday, Senator Chris Murphy took to Twitter to announce his sponsorship as well.

We are now up to 17 prominent co-sponsors. It’s time for a vote.

Only Senator Grassley can bring the CARERS Act up for a vote, and we believe with enough pressure he will. Help us end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana for good. Sign our petition to Senator Grassley right now. 

We need tens of thousands of signatures showing him that the American people are ready reform!

This is a fight we have to win.

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