U.S. House chooses to expand medical cannabis research

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On Wednesday, December 9, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a history-making bill that could essentially open the floodgates for scientific cannabis research opportunities. 

Composed of many facets that will likely give the medical cannabis market a serious boost, the Medical Marijuana Research Act’s passing came just a few days after the full House voted to federally eliminate cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) with the MORE Act.

The monumental move could act as a catalyst for Republican lawmakers to join an ever-growing throng of people who support sweeping cannabis reform in the States. Notwithstanding the bill’s strong bipartisan support, it is not likely to gain Senate approval so late into the session; the same can be said for the MORE Act.

What does the Medical Marijuana Research Act propose to do?

Among the many things that the recently-passed Medical Marijuana Research Act would do is simplify the registration process for researchers. Not only will researchers be able to apply to study cannabis with ease but also, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services would be obligated to approve cannabis research applications without delay.

In addition to this, the Act’s passing would enable researchers to obtain study-grade cannabis in a hassle-free and straightforward manner Specifically, state-legal cannabis businesses could privately manufacture and distribute cannabis primarily for research purposes, thus providing scientists with ample opportunity to procure the plant.

Furthermore, details of the Medical Marijuana Research Act state that researchers could study medical cannabis products sold in states whereby legalization measures have already passed. Lawmakers believe that this aspect of the measure would grant researchers a better understanding of cannabis’ therapeutic qualities; something that could effectively encourage more physicians to recommend natural medicine. Consequently, this may send sales on a hike up north.

Medical Marijuana Research Act’s passage indicates ever-growing congressional support

Congressional lawmakers in the U.S. have spent months urging the DEA to allow more researchers to obtain cultivation licenses. After being bombarded with requests to issue additional licenses, the Administration responded by saying that it must allocate enough time to introduce proper program policies.

Either way, it’s clear that things are moving in the right direction something that Cannabis Trade Federation advisor Steve Fox agrees with. During a recent email discussion with Marijuana Business Daily, Fox said that the Medical Marijuana Research Act’s passage “demonstrates, once again, the strength of support in Congress for reforming cannabis laws.”

“It is frankly outrageous that the DEA has blocked effective cannabis research in this country for so long. While this bill is not likely to make it through the Senate this session, it sends a strong signal to the incoming (Joe) Biden administration that it should take steps itself to immediately advance cannabis research,” his email continued.

Numerous Republican lawmakers also voiced their support for the Medical Marijuana Research Act.