Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act with 325 votes. The legislation will encourage research on marijuana and its potential benefits by streamlining the application process for researchers and removing FDA barriers. Congressmen Blumenauer (D-OR), Harris (R-MD) and Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley (R-IA), and Schatz (D-HI) released the following statements praising its passage in the House:
“Research is a foundational element for cannabis policy,” said Congressman Blumenauer, Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “At a time when there are four million registered medical marijuana patients and many more likely to self-medicate, it is crucial that researchers are able to fully study the health benefits of cannabis. For too long, the federal government has stood in the way of science and progress, creating barriers for researchers obtaining resources and approval to study cannabis. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation is an important first step to changing that.”
“As a physician who has conducted NIH-sponsored research, I am pleased that this bill has finally passed and that scientists will be able to research what medical marijuana can and cannot do. While there is evidence to suggest that medical marijuana may be beneficial in the treatment of some diseases like glaucoma and epilepsy, only scientific research will prove the veracity of the many claims regarding efficacy for other diseases. Despite lacking much scientific research, over three dozen states have already legalized medical marijuana, and the American public deserves to know the effect modern marijuana has on the human body. While I support additional research for the use of medical marijuana, my position on recreational marijuana remains the same – I categorically oppose it,” Congressman Harris said.
“After years of effort, the House took a major step today in passing our legislation to make it easier for researchers to study how marijuana-derived medications can best treat various conditions. The bill will help get safe, FDA-approved, marijuana-derived medications safely to patients in need. I am confident that the Senate will quickly pass this amended version of the bill and send it to President Biden for his signature,” Senator Feinstein said.
“This bipartisan bill is critical to better understanding the marijuana plant and its potential benefits and hazards. It will empower the FDA to analyze CBD and medical marijuana products in a safe and responsible way so that the American public can decide whether to utilize them in the future based on sound scientific data. Researching marijuana is widely supported on both sides of the aisle, and it’s a smart step forward,” Senator Grassley said.
“The medical community agrees that we need more research to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits, but our federal laws today are standing in the way of us finding those answers,” said Senator Schatz. “We are now one step closer to removing excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options.”