US House passes marijuana research bill; Senate expected to follow suit

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a revised bipartisan bill that would make it easier for researchers to study marijuana.

The bill passed Tuesday by a resounding vote of 325-95.

The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Act, or H.R. 8454, now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

If it does, then the measure is expected to become the first stand-alone marijuana bill signed into law.

Both the House and Senate passed marijuana research bills in the lame duck session in 2020, but the measures stalled over a provision that would have allowed researchers to study marijuana from state-legal medical cannabis dispensaries.

The newest version of the bill eliminated that provision.

But the measure does streamline the research application process and removes barriers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Depending on what researchers find, the measure could lead to more business opportunities in current state-legal markets and more bipartisan support for marijuana legalization at the federal level.

Republicans in the House approved the research bill by a 109-95 margin; Democrats voted 216-0 in favor of the measure.

Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican and senior member of the Senate, issued a statement after the House passage that reflects how marijuana research has strong support from both sides of the aisle in the Senate as well.

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“This bipartisan bill is critical to better understanding the marijuana plant and its potential benefits and hazards,” Grassley said in the statement.

“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.”