By Jill Osborn
The federal CARERS Act was introduced in a bipartisan effort by Senators Booker, Gillibrand and Paul on March 10th. 2015. (CARERS is short for Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015.) CARERS was recently featured in “Weed 3” on CNN, the third installment in Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s ongoing series.
As the mother of a child with a severe seizure disorder, who actively advocates for cannabis medicine, I was besieged with messages from excited friends and family members about the CARERS act after Weed 3 aired. Finally, it seems a step toward federally addressing the absurd situation we have placed cannabis patients in.
It would be easy to assume that I, a mother who watches my child suffer life threatening seizures every single day, would support CARERS. Many in the cannabis community have called it progress and justify baby steps toward the ultimate goal of access for all patients. It surprises many that I don’t support it, and I disagree with the concept that this is progress. It is change, but change and progress are not the same thing.
This CARERS Act seeks to move cannabis out of the Schedule 1 status that it currently maintains. Schedule 1 substances are defined by the Department of Justice as having “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” CARERS calls for cannabis to be rescheduled to Schedule 2 status, the same class as cocaine, Dilaudid and Oxycontin. Unlike cannabis and other Schedule 1 substances, drugs in Schedule 2 can be prescribed under strict conditions.
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