Conservative US senator introduces pro-medical marijuana research bill

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Medical cannabis just found an unlikely ally in Utah Republican Orrin Hatch.

Hatch, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1977, has introduced the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 (MEDS Act), according to Fortune.

If approved by Congress, the bipartisan measure would ease barriers to research into the potential medical benefits of cannabis.

Specifically, the bill would require U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who has reportedly blocked cannabis research permits – to “increase the national marijuana quota in a timely manner to meet the changing medical, scientific and industrial needs” of the country, according to Fortune.

The bill would also streamline the research registration process and make cannabis more available to scientists.

The measure is co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Cory Gardner, R-Colorado; and Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina.