Cannabis Research Bill Is Passed By U.S. Senate

Another marijuana research bill has been introduced, this time to the U.S. Senate following the introduction of a similar bill last week by the House of Representatives.

Last week, legislators from both sides of the political aisle introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act to the House of Representatives, which seeks to allow researchers to use dispensary cannabis for their studies, as opposed to current regulation which only allowed for marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi to be studied.

Just one week later, a similar marijuana research bill was passed by the U.S. Senate called the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act, which was initially introduced in 2019.

The bill seeks to remove red-tape when it comes to researching cannabis-derived medicines, expediting research for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)

Given that just last week a very similar bill was introduced by representatives on both sides of the political spectrum, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), it stands to reason that this senate bill will likely be passed with bipartisan support.

Should this occur, the bill will be enacted into law, and Americans can expect barriers to research to be brought down in 2021, allowing for a more evidence-based prescription process when it comes to cannabinoid medicines.

This is critically important, as Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) outlined in 2019, stating:

"In many cases, there are very limited data from which to draw specific recommendations for treatment."

The series of marijuana research bills follows growing scrutiny placed upon the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who have been stonewalling research into medical cannabis. The DEA hasn't carried out the evaluation process for 37 applications to cultivate cannabis for medical research purposes after nearly four years of delays.

In theory, removing the barriers to research surrounding cannabis-derived medicines in the U.S. may allow cannabis to be removed from the list of Schedule I substances, which deems the plant to have no "accepted medical uses."

Should positive research emerge surrounding the benefits of cannabis use for legitimate medical conditions, this may prompt a revision of cannabis's scheduling within the Controlled Substances Act.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.