In a move that move that may finally allow a more comprehensive assessment of the potential health properties of cannabis, the House of Representatives has passed the Medical Marijuana Research Act — a bill that should reduce barriers and expand scientific research into the medicinal benefits of the plant.
There has been a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruling in place that effectively blocked effective cannabis research within the USA. A growing facility at the University of Mississippi has been the only approved marijuana supplier for research, but critics point out that the cannabis grown there doesn’t reflect the many cannabis products that are being sold in the marketplace today.
The Medical Marijuana Research Act passed in a voice vote in the House of Representative on December 9, 2020 and attracted strong bipartisan support in the chamber. But, like the also recently passed Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) bill, which would reschedule cannabis and decriminalize it at the federal level, it is unlikely to be scheduled to come before the Senate any time soon.
“While this bill is not likely to make it through the Senate this session, it sends a strong signal to the incoming Biden administration that it should take steps itself to immediately advance cannabis research,” Steve Fox, strategic adviser to the Cannabis Trade Federation, told Marijuana Business Daily.
The research bill “demonstrates, once again, the strength of support in Congress for reforming cannabis laws,” Fox added.
And on the floor of the house Andrew Harris, a Maryland Republican and physician who supported the research bill, said: “We don’t tolerate not having the science for other medications.”
Congressional lawmakers have been pushing the DEA for months to issue additional marijuana cultivation licenses for research purposes. But the DEA has maintained that it needs time to implement proper policies for the program.