The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved landmark legislation to expand research into medical marijuana, the first time both houses of Congress have passed a single cannabis bill. The bill, titled the Expanding Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Act, received House approval over the summer and is currently under consideration at President Joseph Biden’s desk.
Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who co-sponsored the bill in the House along with Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, noted the bill’s importance after Wednesday’s Senate vote.
“After decades of tackling the issue of cannabis reform, the dam is finally starting to break. It represents a historic breakthrough in addressing the botched and misguided cannabis ban in the United States statement: “As we’ve seen state by state, the public is tired of waiting for the federal government to catch up. More than 155 million Americans — nearly half of the nation’s population — now live in states where adult use of cannabis is legal.”
In July, the bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 325 to 95, a bipartisan overwhelming majority at a time of bitter partisan division in Washington, DC. Other legislation, including a bill that would allow access, is awaiting Senate approval. In the Senate, which passed the bill unanimously on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein of California, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii sponsored the bill.
“For too long, Congress has stood in the way of science and progress, creating barriers for researchers seeking to study cannabis and its benefits,” continued Blumenauer. “More than 155 million Americans live in areas where adult use of cannabis has been legalized at the state or local level, and with 4 million registered medical marijuana users today, many Because people are more likely to self-medicate, it is imperative that we are fully able to study the effects of cannabis use.”
Law eases restrictions on marijuana research
The bill aims to ease federal restrictions on cannabis research, which is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. The law simplifies the process of applying for approval of marijuana-related scientific research and makes it easier for researchers to understand the potential medical benefits of cannabis.
Under this law, the U.S. Attorney General has 60 days to approve a marijuana research application or submit a request for additional information to a research applicant. The bill also includes provisions to encourage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support the development of cannabis-derived medicines.
“There is substantial evidence that marijuana-derived medicines can and do provide significant health benefits. research, and as a result, more patients will have easier access to safe medicines.” Feinstein said in a statement from the parliamentary office. “We know that cannabidiol-derived medicines are effective for conditions such as epilepsy. This bill will help improve current medical CBD practices and develop important new applications.” After years of negotiations, we are pleased to finally enact this bill that will lead to important research that can help millions of people.”
President to sign bill
During his 2020 campaign, Biden called for easing federal restrictions on cannabis research. And last month, he “directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate an administrative process to expedite a review of how marijuana is stipulated under federal law.” Schatz appeared to indicate that he expects the president to sign the cannabis research bill that passed Congress.
“The medical community agrees that more research is needed to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits, but today’s federal law prevents us from finding those answers.” “Our bill, which is now being passed into law, will remove the undue barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the efficacy and safety of marijuana, allowing patients to We hope to offer many treatment options.”
However, not everyone welcomed the law as a step toward cannabis policy reform. Shane Pennington, attorney at cannabis and psychedelics law firm Vicente Cederberg LLP, wrote in her email: high times “It’s a horrible bill that makes research harder, not easier,” he said. He explains that the law unnecessarily complicates cannabidiol research, among other issues.
“This bill would allow CBD and/or any [marijuana] Derivatives, Extracts, Preparations or Compounds. However, under current law, neither CBD nor non-marijuana “derivatives, extracts, preparations, or compounds” of cannabis qualify as “controlled substances.” Therefore, in the current situation, no special DEA registration is required to study them. ” Pennington wrote on the substack. “By imposing registration requirements on these unregulated substances, this bill dramatically raises the barriers to cannabis research.”