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Tenn. rep introduces medical marijuana legislation


WASHINGTON — A Tennessee lawmaker has once again introduced legislation to allow states to set their own policies on marijuana.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D- Memphis) and Don Young (R-Alaska) presented the bipartisan legislation on the first day of the new session. It would allow patients to have access to medical marijuana in states where marijuana is legal without fear of federal prosecution.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would not legalize marijuana in all fifty states, but it would allow respect the states’ decisions to legalize medical marijuana. It would also prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in those states.

The law would also permit doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans to treat serious and chronic conditions.

“The national consensus on medical marijuana is solid and bipartisan, but our federal drug laws continue to treat patients and their doctors like criminals. Our bill would bring federal medical marijuana policy in line with the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans by allowing states to set their own marijuana laws, allowing patients, including veterans, to receive the treatments they need from their doctors and improving opportunities for research on marijuana," said Rep. Cohen.

Medical marijuana is legal in 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Tennessee is not included on that list.

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