The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on a bill this week to accelerate medical cannabis research, a move that could strengthen support for broader reform.
The vote, expected as soon as Wednesday, comes on the heels of the House passing a historic measure last week to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
The MMJ research bill has bipartisan support and is expected to pass the House, but the measure is unlikely to be considered by the Senate before the end of this legislative session.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat, introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act in early 2019.
The bill would:
- Allow for the private manufacturing and distribution of marijuana solely for research purposes.
- Make it easier for approved researchers to obtain the cannabis they need for their studies. Researchers, for example, could study cannabis supplied by state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries.
- Create a less cumbersome registration process for marijuana research.
Consideration of the bill comes at a time when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration continues to drag its feet on expanding medical cannabis research.
Congressional lawmakers have been pushing for months for the DEA to issue additional marijuana cultivation licenses for research purposes. But the DEA has said it needs time to implement proper policies for the program.