August 11, 2016

Senator Gillibrand Statement On DEA's Long Overdue Decision To End Monopoly On Medical Marijuana Research

Washington, D.C. – After over a year of urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to change its antiquated policies on medical marijuana, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today issued the following statement on the agency's decision to end the University of Mississippi's monopoly on medical marijuana research and to allow other universities to apply to grow marijuana for research purposes.

Senator Gillibrand said, “This is an important first step toward helping countless children who suffer from seizures get the medicine they need. It's passed due that we expand opportunities for medical research, and now the DEA needs to take the next step and remove marijuana from schedule I. It shouldn't take an act of Congress for the DEA to get past antiquated ideology and make this change, but in the meantime I'll continue urging my colleagues to pass our bipartisan legislation on behalf of the children and families who are suffering.”

Today's announcement comes after Senator Gillibrand led a bipartisan effort urging the DEA to end this monopoly and grant new research licenses. Citing new information she requested from the State Department and documents from HHS, Senator Gillibrand and a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives wrote DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg earlier this summer urging him to make this change and remove barriers to research on medical marijuana

Senator Gillibrand is the sponsor of the bipartisan Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act. Her bill would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug to recognize that it has accepted medical use, and would amend federal law to allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies. The bill would also permit VA doctors to prescribe veterans medical marijuana to treat serious injuries and chronic conditions. The legislation would not legalize medical marijuana in all 50 states; rather it would respect the states that set their own medical marijuana programs and would prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in those states.