GOP lawmakers want more focus on cannabis research

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Legislators renew their efforts to have federal groups be more proactive in scientific studies

As cannabis becomes legal in more states, the need to have more and better research is now becoming obvious. A few legislators are taking the lead to make that happen and have reiterated their desire to have research efforts expedited. Four Republican legislators are asking for an urgent hearing to discuss pending bills that seek to facilitate the research into the effects of marijuana.

“We urge you to hold a legislative hearing regarding federally-sanctioned research on cannabis as soon as possible, with a panel of federal witnesses,” said the Republican members in a letter they wrote on Monday to the Energy and Commerce Committee and its Health Subcommittee. They continued, “This hearing would be an opportunity for members to learn about…legislation that offers potential solutions to help improve the research landscape.”

Included in this group of GOP members are Representatives Greg Walden and Michael Burgess. They cited all the hurdles that still exist for the substance’s condition in the Controlled Substances Act. Currently, the only official provider of quality-research marijuana is the University of Mississippi and this not only creates a shortage, but also limits any diversity in aspects such as quality, potency, chemical composition and methods of consumption. In this letter, the Republicans also said, “Current research on the biological effects of cannabis might not replicate the experience of individuals using commercially available strains.”

One more thing that was discussed in this letter is some evidence based on research that this marijuana produced by this government-approved institution is more like hemp than what is usually available in the legal dispensaries. Other than this effort, the only other time that something about research has been mentioned was a discussion on these matters during a hearing in October about marijuana’s health effects.