Last Wednesday, the senate passed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act with a unanimous vote. The bill had been passed by the house of representatives in July. This is a historic first, as no other bill exclusively dedicated to marijuana has ever passed congress. The bill is headed to the president’s desk for approval. According to a White House insider, and as first reported by Marijuana Moment, President Biden is likely to sign the bill.
The bipartisan marijuana research bill intends to remove obstacles that have been impeding cannabis research. It will also allow research institutions and private companies such as pharmaceuticals to obtain licenses from the DEA to cultivate and use cannabis for research.
Once the bill gets to Biden’s desk he will have 10 working days to either sign or veto it. If he does neither the bill will take effect without his signature. The U.S attorney General will then have 60 days within which he can either approve the application or request the applicant to submit supplemental information.
The marijuana research bill will encourage medical doctors to discuss with their patients the benefits and potential harms of medical marijuana treatment. It will also require the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate factors inhibiting marijuana research and provide tenable solutions.
Previously, the University of Mississippi was the only institution that was authorized to cultivate and supply cannabis to support research. Last year, the DEA changed this and went ahead to grant cannabis cultivation licenses to six other research institutions. Even with the additional licenses, cannabis researchers have continued to face significant obstacles trying to find high quality cannabis for research.
Cannabis remains a schedule 1 substance which means that it’s highly regulated at the federal level. This has made it very difficult to conduct cannabis research but the new bill hopes to change this.
Last month, President Biden issued a mass pardon for those with federal non-violent marijuana related cases. The president has shown relentless commitment to marijuana reform, even though he remains opposed to federal legalization.