Epilepsy and CARERS Act to Reschedule Cannabis Explained

EFMNY

What is the Compassionate Access and Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act to reschedule cannabis/ medical marijuana, and how does it relate to epilepsy?

The Compassionate Access and Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act

Medical Marijuana has been shown to alleviate symptoms of serious medical conditions including rare pediatric epileptic and seizure disorders, cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws legalizing the use of medical marijuana for qualifying patients under state law. However, the medical use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Even in states where medical marijuana laws exist, patients and providers are vulnerable to arrest and interference from federal law enforcement.

The bipartisan Compassionate Access and Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would not penalize families from accessing prescribed medicine which ease the symptoms of these life threatening diseases by doing the following:

Ends the federal prohibition of medical marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA)

Marijuana is still illegal under any circumstances according to federal law. Physicians who prescribe marijuana for medical treatment in accordance with state law could still face federal prosecution for prescribing marijuana. The CARERS Act amends the CSA so that states can set their own medical marijuana policies. Individuals in states that take part in medical marijuana programs – patients, providers, businesses – will no longer be in violation of federal law.

Reschedules Marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II

The Controlled Substances Act currently lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs are those that have a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in the United States. Cannabis’s classification as a Schedule I drug adds considerable complexity, expense, and potential access problems for clinical research. The CARERS Act moves marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. Under Schedule II the drug has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and may be prescribed by doctors on a limited basis.

Allow importation of Cannabidiol (CBD)

The CARERS Act would give children and adults with epilepsy and other seizure disorders access to the oil (called CBD) for treatment by removing CBD oil from the federal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.

Banks to be allowed to do Business with Marijuana Dispensaries

Many banks do not provide financial services for state-authorized marijuana-related businesses because of fear of criminal penalties. This bill would provide legal immunity from federal criminal prosecution to banks and credit unions, their officers and employees that provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses that engage in activities pursuant to state law.

Research

The federal government retains strict controls over the use of marijuana for research purposes. Research expansion has been hindered by a complicated federal approval process and limited availability of research-grade marijuana. The CARERS Act removes unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles for researchers to gain government approval to carry out research on marijuana.

Access to Medical Marijuana for Veterans

VA doctors are currently prohibited from aiding patients seeking medical use of marijuana.The CARERS Act allows Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to military veterans suffering from serious injuries or chronic conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, in states where it is legal.

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For more information on how the Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York (EFMNY) is getting involved, please visit: http://efmny.org/events/

Take action! Urge your Senators to support the CARERS Act to facilitate research on cannabis and help the epilepsy community gain safe, legal access to this treatment option. For more information on this Epilepsy Foundation ACTION ALERT, and how you can get involved, please visit: http://capwiz.com/efa/issues/alert/?alertid=64207976