US House of Representatives passes medical cannabis research bill

U.S. House of Representatives passed on Monday, April 4, a bipartisan cannabis research bill that would remove barriers to conducting research on cannabis and allow scientists to access cannabis from dispensaries of legal cannabis states. The Medical Marijuana Research Act passed the House in a 343-75 vote.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) introduced the bill in October 2021. It is co-sponsored by 11 Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, including Rep. Andy Harris (R), known as legal cannabis' foe but recognizes that science needs to do more cannabis research.

The bill would ease the process by which researchers apply for approval to study cannabis by ensuring a sufficient supply of cannabis intended for research and placing deadlines on federal agencies to consider applications on time. Furthermore, it would also authorize scientists to access flowers and other products manufactured according to state-approved cannabis programs and shelved in dispensaries.

It remains to be seen if, following the House's vote, the Senate will be able to negotiate a deal on the bill to send to President Joe Biden. In late 2020, both the House and Senate passed earlier versions of the bill, but it was never taken up in the Senate.

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