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house Bill H.R. 1538

Does the Federal Government Need to Respect State Medical Marijuana Laws?

Argument in favor

This would finally put a stop to federal interference in state medical marijuana laws that voters asked for. Marijuana has a legitimate medical use, and this bill will protect patients and their caregivers from prosecution.

Michael's Opinion
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09/04/2015
I am not marijuana user and I supported this because of the benefits marijuana give. I kept seeing friends who smokes marijuana for medical usages than take advantage of it to get high. It helps boost their grades and their focus. I'm saying yes to this. This can opens the door to whole new set of cures from marijuana.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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09/04/2015
Marrijuana has been around as long as there has been tobacco. Let's stop wasting valuable monies and treat it like we do alcohol and tobacco. Govern it and tax it. Laws that pertain to operating vehicles remain enforce with under the influence. If caught you pay the penalty. The Feds need to allow states to regulate the laws of marrijuana.
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Tafinzer's Opinion
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03/03/2017
The 10th amendment makes this a non-issue. If it's not written into our constitution it is not a matter that the federal government should be addressing. Marijuana needs to be reclassified.
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Argument opposed

Medical marijuana is often abused by people who just want to use marijuana recreationally. The federal government shouldn’t enable that, and needs to make an example of those who exploit the system.

operaman's Opinion
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09/04/2015
It's still against Fed Law to possess Marihuana. States that passed laws allowing marihuana are in violation of fed law. It's State lawlessness like sanctuary city and immigration
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Brady's Opinion
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03/29/2016
The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution establishes the supremacy of Federal laws and rulings over State laws or rulings. Until the U.S. Government removes marijuana from the list of illegal substances, then any State's law permitting the legal use of marijuana is rendered void by the pre-existing Federal law.
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Jackie 's Opinion
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03/07/2017
This is just a stop gap measure. Either the federal law needs to be changed OR the current law needs to be enforced.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1538?

This bill would allow people to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution. It would not legalize medical marijuana at the federal level, but would simply respect the laws of the 23 states plus the District of Columbia and Guam that have legalized medical marijuana.

Marijuana would also be reclassified from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug in order to recognize its accepted medical use — opening the door for states to set their own policies with respect to medical marijuana.

Doctors working for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would also be able to prescribe marijuana to veterans under their care. Currently, marijuana is not recognized by the VA as a valid treatment option because of federal law, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.

This bill would also modify federal law to allow banks to provide financial services to legal medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state laws. Cannabidiol — a part of marijuana’s chemistry profile that used to make synthetic marijuana — would be excluded from the definition of marijuana, thus allowing states to determine the status of cannabidiol.

Impact

Anyone who uses medical marijuana products, patients in states where medical marijuana is legal, veterans receiving care from the VA in medical marijuana states, local law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Attorney General.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1538

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

Of Note: At the end of the 113th Congress in December 2014, Congress included a measure in the so-called “Cromnibus” preventing the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from prosecuting medical marijuana cases where the defendants are complying with state laws. That followed an uptick in raids related to medical marijuana, which led some to criticize the Obama administration for its stance on large-scale producers and retailers of marijuana.

Sponsoring Rep. Steve Cohen (D-NJ) said of his bill

“Drug policy reform is long overdue, but I am pleased that today it is an issue that unites both Democrats and Republicans. The science has been in for a long time, and keeping marijuana on Schedule I -- with heroin and LSD -- is ludicrous.”

On the other side of the aisle in the Senate, this legislation received bipartisan support from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who signed on as a lead cosponsor, adding

“We want to take [marijuana] down to Schedule II, so doctors can prescribe this more easily. We don’t want doctors to be punished for simply trying to help people.”

In some states where medical marijuana has been legalized, there have been accusations of people abusing the marijuana they’re entrusted to grow as caregivers, or that the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card is too easy.


In-Depth: This legislation’s companion bill in the House of Representatives has 14 bipartisan cosponsors — seven Democrats and seven Republicans.

Similar legislation that would allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in states where it is legal was introduced in the House in early February, but it has not progressed from committee yet.


Media:


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Dank Depot)

AKA

CARERS Act of 2015

Official Title

To extend the principle of federalism to State drug policy, provide access to medical marijuana, and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Health
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 23rd, 2015
    I am not marijuana user and I supported this because of the benefits marijuana give. I kept seeing friends who smokes marijuana for medical usages than take advantage of it to get high. It helps boost their grades and their focus. I'm saying yes to this. This can opens the door to whole new set of cures from marijuana.
    Like (71)
    Follow
    Share
    Marrijuana has been around as long as there has been tobacco. Let's stop wasting valuable monies and treat it like we do alcohol and tobacco. Govern it and tax it. Laws that pertain to operating vehicles remain enforce with under the influence. If caught you pay the penalty. The Feds need to allow states to regulate the laws of marrijuana.
    Like (50)
    Follow
    Share
    The 10th amendment makes this a non-issue. If it's not written into our constitution it is not a matter that the federal government should be addressing. Marijuana needs to be reclassified.
    Like (48)
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    It is essential that our government respects the decisions of our states.
    Like (32)
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    Needs to be legalized nationwide.
    Like (29)
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    Legalize, standardize, tax and control like alcohol throughout the country. Penalties for abuse such as operating any type vehicle impaired should be harsh.
    Like (18)
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    Heck yes they do! It's kinda a dick move of the Feds to disrespect a states rights. When marijuana has already been proven to be less harmful than alcohol in terms of damage to the body.
    Like (17)
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    Regardless of your opinion on the legalization of marijuana, it is important that if you live in an area where marijuana can be given medicinally and you have medicinal marijuana, you can take it without fear of federal prosecution.
    Like (14)
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    This is long overdue. Medical marijuana can improve the lives of many people who suffer from chronic medical conditions such as arthritis.
    Like (11)
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    People depend on medical marijuana for health purposes. They shouldn't fear prosecution from the federal government just because they want to address their health problems, especially when it's legal in their state. There's no harm to these state laws and so the federal government should respect that.
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    Feds need to stay out of our lives.
    Like (7)
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    This falls under the 10th amendment for states rights. Anything not specifically mentioned in the constitution is left for states to decide.
    Like (7)
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    American democracy in my understanding is ultimately a government made by the people for the people. If the people have chosen to make this substance legal for medical use in their states the federal government should respect that.
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    It's still against Fed Law to possess Marihuana. States that passed laws allowing marihuana are in violation of fed law. It's State lawlessness like sanctuary city and immigration
    Like (3)
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    It should be the people's choice state by state.
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    The Federal Government is already sitting back in regards to states such as Colorado. The next step is to make it official from the Fed's side.
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    The prohibition against marijuana makes no sense. Tax payer money is wasted jailing tons of college kids that have a recreational activities way safer than alcohol and firearms. The practice only serves to jail minorities and introduce marijuana users to actual drug dealers.
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    The federal government needs to choose a path. Currently drug policy is very ambiguous, which negatively affects people who are already suffering from medical conditions -- i.e. Coats v. Dish Network.
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    Rights not specifically endowed/granted by the Constitution to the Federal government are subject to the 10th amendment which gives States their SOVEREIGNTY. This means that the States have LEGAL jurisdiction over such things as they see fit and not for the government to flex their muscles as they so choose.
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    Mo needs to get going on decrim ang legalize.
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