Third Way Statement on Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Legislation

March 10, 2015

Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, Director of Social Policy & Politics at Third Way, today released the following statement on the bipartisan Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, And Respect States Act (CARERS Act):

"As an organization that focuses on giving a voice to Americans in the middle, Third Way congratulates Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on the introduction of the bipartisan Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS Act), which would give states the consistency they need to be responsible actors and effectively and safely regulate their medical marijuana markets.

"It's time for Congress to catch up to the American people on marijuana. Our recent national poll found an overwhelming 78% of Americans favor legalization of marijuana for medical use, with support above 60% among every single demographic group, regardless of political ideology, race, education, marital status, or religiosity. That means even among Republicans, women, Southerners, parents, and those who have never tried marijuana, the belief that we should let people for whom marijuana provides relief from pain and symptoms of illness to use it legally is a commonly-held value.

"This legislation also fixes a flaw in the law that has turned legal business owners into outlaws. The CARERS Act would remedy the existing conflict between state and federal law which blocks even marijuana businesses that are legal in their own state from accessing banking services—a conflict which threatens public safety and dangerously forces these businesses to operate only in cash. And it undoes the gag order that prohibits VA doctors from talking to their patients about medical marijuana even in states where its medical use is legal. Even among Americans who say they would vote against legalizing recreational marijuana in their states, two-thirds still believe that Congress must act to address the untenable conflict between state and federal law by giving states a safe harbor to set and enforce responsible marijuana policies. That's exactly what the CARERS Act would do—and that's why we offer our full-fledged endorsement of the legislation and urge its passage."

The full findings of Third Way's recent poll on this issue are available in our report: The Marijuana Middle: Americans Ponder Legalization.

Press Contacts

Ladan Ahmadi

Senior Media Relations Manager

202-384-1718

lahmadi@thirdway.org

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