Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan cannabis research measure designed to streamline research on marijuana, partly by permitting researchers to access products sold in state-legal dispensaries. This vote comes days after the chamber approved the MORE Act , which would federally legalize marijuana. The research measure, dubbed the Medical Marijuana Research Act, was sponsored by Rep. Andy Harris and Rep. Earl Blumenauer and was approved by the legislators in a 343 to 75 vote.
Both the Senate and the House approved earlier versions of their separate marijuana research measures in 2020. However, none of these bills were advanced to the president’s desk by the end of the session. In a press release, Blumenauer stated that the marijuana laws in the country were broken, including the ones that dealt with the medical research of cannabis. He explained that America’s burgeoning marijuana industry operated without the benefit of a strong research program, noting that instead, the country was outsourcing research to Canada, the United Kingdom and Israel, to its disadvantage.
This measure would eliminate the barriers that scientists encounter when applying for and seeking approval to study marijuana. It would also establish clear deadlines on federal agencies to take action on researcher applications. The initiative would also make it easier for researchers to adjust their study protocols without seeking federal approval.
Frank Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stated that state-level reforms and approval of the federal marijuana legalization measure last week highlighted the need for more research on the effectiveness and safety of cannabis products. These types of products are being consumed by millions all over the United States, and increased research would be a crucial step toward understanding the negative and positive health effects of the products.
Rep. Morgan Griffith, who was a cosponsor of the marijuana research measure, voiced his support for the bill. Griffith noted that despite having varying views on broader cannabis reform, legislators had banded together to advocate for more studies on the use of marijuana products to treat medical conditions. After the vote on the research legislation, Blumenauer stated that he was ready to work with legislators in the Senate to reconcile differences between this measure and the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act, which was approved by the Senate.
Advocates in favor of legalization commended the House measure, with NORML deputy director Paul Armentano stating that these regulatory changes were both necessary and long overdue. Once signed into law, the bill is sure to make the work of entities such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) a tad easier, especially on matters of conducting research and developing next-gen products.
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