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Gillibrand trying to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level

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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing a bill that would effectively end the ban on prescription pot by the federal government.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act is being co-sponsored by Senator’s Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Gillibrand said families in need of medical marijuana for ailing relatives are living in fear of federal prosecution, despite pending legalization of the drug by New York and 22 other states. Until the law is changed, Gillibrand has requested a waiver from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for the use of medications like Cannabidiol by some New York families.  She said she’s met with the parents of children who are suffering.

“What their parents described is their children having upwards of 100 seizures in a day. Some of these kids are prescribed harsher medications, often ones that are addictive, because the one they know works well isn’t available to them,” stated Senator Gillibrand.

“What their parents described is their children having upwards of 100 seizures in a day. Some of these kids are prescribed harsher medications, often ones that are addictive, because the one they know works well isn’t available to them,” said Gillibrand.

Gillibrand said medical marijuana would aid in the development of the ailing children, which is hampered by their constant seizures. She says the decision to use the drug should be between patients and doctors, and that the federal government shouldn’t stand in the way.

Gillibrand said one of the basic elements of the legislation is to change medical marijuana from a Schedule One narcotic to a Schedule Two.

“And the only reason it’s a Schedule One drug is because it was believed at some point in the past that there weren’t medical uses. Well, we know for a fact there are real medical uses,” Gillibrand said.

That change would allow research to be conducted on the roles cannabis based-drugs could play in treating patients.

"I believe it%u2019s a question of ideology getting in the way of scientific research and scientific reality," said Senator Gillibrand.

Gillibrand said the current restrictions of the federal law are a problem for military veterans who receive most of their care through the VA. She says she’s heard from one veteran that medical marijuana is one of the best treatments he’s seen for PTSD.

“If we could begin to research how medical marijuana could affect PTSD sufferers, that might be something that the veteran community could benefit greatly from,” said Gillibrand.

Gillibrand said she’s optimistic that the bill will pass legislation. She says it’s common sense, and that there’s no reason not to go forward with the change.

“The question of whether there’s valid medical reasons to take the medicine is long past,” said Gillibrand, “and so really, I believe it’s a question of ideology getting in the way of scientific research and scientific reality.”