Although several states have legalized either medical or recreational marijuana, it remains illegal at the federal level. This duality in legislation means that sometimes, individuals who work with or consume state-legal cannabis face federal repercussions. However, a series of reports for spending bills released by a key House committee contain a wide range of marijuana-related provisions seeking to change this.
The directives from the House Appropriations Committee were attached to spending bills containing legislative reform provisions including previously tabled proposals that would protect state marijuana laws from federal interference as well as protect banks who work with cannabis businesses from federal retaliation. The reports direct federal agencies to reconsider firing federal workers for consuming state-legal marijuana, to promote research into cannabis and fund CBD regulations.
“The Committee encourages OPM to review its policies and guidelines regarding hiring and firing of individuals who use marijuana in states where that individual’s private use of marijuana is not prohibited under the law of the State. These policies should reflect changes to the law on marijuana usage and clearly state the impact of marijuana usage on federal employment,” states a Financial Services and General Government spending bill report.
Another report attached to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill contained a number of marijuana research provisions too. One provision called on the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) to develop a “multipronged strategy wherein basic and clinical scientists and public health specialists work together to address the opportunities and challenges of cannabis in a comprehensive manner.”
“NIH currently supports a diverse portfolio of research on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, yet this research support typically relies on narrowly tailored program announcements and grants rather than a multipronged strategy wherein basic and clinical scientists and public health specialists work together to address the opportunities and challenges of cannabis in a comprehensive manner. The Committee encourages NIDA to continue supporting a full range of research on the health effects of marijuana and its components, including research to understand how marijuana policies affect public health, to help inform marijuana policy-making in States.”
Members of the committee also noted that there is significant public interest in cannabis research. They made a recommendation to provide protections for universities that would be licensed to carry out these studies.
“Through scientific research, institutions of higher education advance our understanding and knowledge of various aspects of our world. Moreover, when in the public interest, such institutions should be able to conduct such research without fear of reprisal or loss of federal funding.”
Industry watchers believe sector players like Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) are hopeful that soon enough, the pressure mounting from House Committees will eventually bear fruit at the federal level and marijuana policies will be reformed to be more progressive.
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