U.S. Pain encourages advocates to take action to support the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S.1374/H.R.2920) by sending a letter to their legislators (click here to contact your legislator). The bill represents a major step forward for medical cannabis — it would move cannabis from a schedule I drug to a schedule II drug, reduce the role of the federal government in interfering with state medical cannabis programs, and enhance access for veterans.

Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have some form of a medical cannabis program. (To find out where your state stands, click here.) Pending legislation exists in the states of Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. States that failed with their attempt to pass legislation this year are Kansas, Mississippi, and Virginia.

A few states have some very exciting additions to their programs:

Florida –  10 new companies will be allowed to grow cannabis, and patients will now be able to use the following forms of cannabis: pills, oils, edibles, and vaporizing.

New Hampshire – just added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition and is the first state in the entire country to include Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Legislators also changed the requirements wording to say “medium to severe pain.”

New York – recently also added PTSD as a qualifying condition.

“Although this process can be slow and frustrating at times, we have come such a long way in a short time,” says Ellen Lenox-Smith, who co-directs U.S. Pain’s Medical Cannabis Program alongside her husband, Stu. “For those still in a state with no medical program approved or one that still needs improvement, feel free to be in touch to see if we can offer help and guidance.”

To contact Ellen or Stu, email ellen@uspainfoundation.org. For more information about U.S. Pain’s medical cannabis advocacy efforts, click here.