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Removing Cannabidiol Oil From the Controlled Substances Act Will Allow Crucial Access for Patients

March 12, 2015

A major obstacle that states have faced in the fight for medical marijuana has been the Controlled Substances Act, namely that cannabis and all of its related extractions has been categorized as a Schedule I drug. Anything that’s classified as a Schedule I drug means that, according to the federal government, the substance has no medicinal value whatsoever. Patients who rely on CBD oil to manage their debilitating symptoms and conditions would disagree with that claim. Fortunately, one important aspect of the new federal medical marijuana bill called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act (or the CARERS Act) is the removal of CBD oil from the Controlled Substance Act.

There has been a recent change of heart from some of the more conservative states in the past few years, as we’ve watched Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North and South Carolinas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin all legalize the limited use of cannabidiol oils for certain patients, usually those suffering from seizure disorders. These laws are passed with the best of intentions, as many of the seizure disorders targeted by the legislation are suffered by children. However, as these are often conservative states with little to no background on the ins and outs of legalizing cannabis in any form, these laws are nothing more than words on a page.

Yes, the laws were passed, but they offer no means of access for patients. States have no infrastructure for the production, processing, and manufacturing of cannabis oils, and the laws do not allow for personal cultivation. The only way for a patient to acquire cannabis oil is to travel to a legal state (such as Colorado or Washington) and risk federal prosecution to bring the product back to their home state. Once they run out? The cycle begins again.

If the CARERS Act is passed, patients will no longer have to break federal laws to acquire their medicine. Not only that, but states will no longer have their hands tied when it comes to providing this medicine. Removing CBD oil completely from the definition of “marijuana” as it is defined by the U.S. government means that even states without medical marijuana laws could allow access for patients who so desperately need it.

That’s a win in my book.

Throw your support behind the CARERS Act by doing one (or all) of the following:

Dear Senator _______,

I am writing to urge you to support the CARERS Act recently introduced by Senators Gillibrand, Booker, and Paul. Removing cannabis as a Schedule I drug opens the doors for doctors to legally prescribe medical marijuana to those in need of its benefits. It would safeguard the freedom of patients to choose a method of treatment that improves their quality of life and eliminate the fear associated with its criminalization. Federal restrictions on cannabis have obstructed valuable research that would shed light on marijuana’s benefits and risks, knowledge we owe to doctors and patients hoping to make informed medical decisions. It is imperative that we reconcile discrepancies between federal and state marijuana laws, so I ask that you please support the CARERS Act for your constituents, for patients, and for advocates across the nation. Thank you for your time.