The U.S. House of Representatives passed a groundbreaking cannabis research bill this week after receiving strong bipartisan support from lawmakers. The legislation is expected to be passed in the days ahead by the
Known as the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (
Legislation Streamlines Cannabis Research
If passed, the bill would “encourage research on marijuana and its potential benefits by streamlining the application process for researchers and removing FDA barriers,” according to a statement from Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.
“At a time when there are four million registered medical marijuana patients and many more likely to self-medicate, it is crucial that researchers are able to fully study the health benefits of cannabis,” Blumenauer, who was not present for the vote,
Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland spoke in favor of the legislation ahead of Tuesday’s vote. Harris, who opposes the federal legalization of marijuana, nonetheless supports expanded research into cannabis.
“This bill makes it easier to do the necessary, rigorous medical research—just like is done for any other drug that has a claim of efficacy in this country,”
“That would help protect American patients as well,” he added. “This would modernize our research methods, bringing medical marijuana up to the scientific standards we use for every other type of medication that is sold as a drug in this country.”
The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act would require the attorney general’s office to approve or request additional information for an application for cannabis research within 60 days. The bill also encourages the Food and Drug Administration to develop cannabis medicines and makes it easier for researchers to request large quantities of cannabis for their studies.
Bill Now Heads to the Senate
The bill is nearly identical to a bill sponsored by California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein, fellow Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley that was passed by a unanimous vote of the Senate in March. After the House version was passed on Tuesday, Feinstein said the bill would likely see swift approval in the upper chamber of Congress.
“After years of effort, the House took a major step today in passing our legislation to make it easier for researchers to study how marijuana-derived medications can best treat various conditions,” said Feinstein. “The bill will help get safe, FDA-approved, marijuana-derived medications safely to patients in need. I am confident that the Senate will quickly pass this amended version of the bill and send it to President Biden for his signature.”
Troy Datcher, CEO of vertically integrated cannabis operator The Parent Company, noted that passage of the bill marks a step forward in federal
“Though cannabis has been used for therapeutic purposes for generations, there’s still so much we don’t know about the plant. Further research will be a pivotal factor in dispelling longstanding myths about the plant, and developing sound public policy,” Datcher wrote in an email. “Unfortunately, research on cannabis has been hampered for the last 50 years by the failed policy of cannabis prohibition, but the passage of this bill represents a significant milestone in our quest to better understand its medicinal and therapeutic properties, and develop a thoughtful and effective regulatory framework.”