WASHINGTON, D.C. — The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization slammed Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Monday for organizing a dubious anti-marijuana caucus hearing while continuing to block hearings on bipartisan medical marijuana legislation.
The Marijuana Policy Project called the decision “tone deaf” and said the senator “appears more interested in rolling back the rights of healthy adults in Colorado than in defending the rights of seriously ill patients in Iowa.”
The Grassley-led Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET to examine the Obama administration’s efforts to monitor the impact of state laws that regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use. The four-person witness list includes a federal prosecutor from California, an advisory board member for a national anti-marijuana organization, and the Nebraska attorney general who sought to overturn Colorado’s marijuana regulation laws by filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court.
Grassley has refused to call a hearing on S. 683, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act of 2015, since it was introduced in March 2015. The CARERS Act would authorize states to legalize and regulate the production, distribution, and possession of marijuana for medical purposes. It would recognize the medical value of marijuana and remove barriers to researching its medical benefits by reclassifying the substance from Schedule I to Schedule II. It would also allow banks to provide financial services to state-legal medical marijuana businesses.
“It’s shocking that Sen. Grassley would choose to direct the Senate’s time, energy, and resources toward a dubious anti-marijuana hearing instead of giving the CARERS Act the hearing it deserves,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project. “The CARERS Act is bipartisan legislation that has broad public support. His decision is tone deaf, to say the least.
“Most Americans support ending marijuana prohibition, and the vast majority support legal access to medical marijuana,” Capecchi said. “More than three out of four voters in Sen. Grassley’s own state believe marijuana should be legal for medical use. The senator appears more interested in rolling back the rights of healthy adults in Colorado than in defending the rights of seriously ill patients in Iowa.”
Last month, a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found that 78% of adults in Iowa support legalizing marijuana for medical use.