A new Congressional bill looks to make cannabis more available for research
Despite the federal government shutdown, there are at least some lawmakers on Capitol Hill that are trying to keep the wheels turning. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House has drafted and introduced a bill, The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019, that would greatly improve federal authorization for cannabis clinical trials. Currently, and for the past 50 years, only one entity in the U.S. has been authorized to cultivate marijuana for research approved by the Food & Drug Administration.
The University of Mississippi has, for too long, held a monopoly on marijuana. It was given sole authority by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, but many have argued that the results of the school’s cultivation efforts have been less than adequate, producing marijuana that was not viable in testing.
The Drug Enforcement Agency amended regulations in 2016 that would, in theory, allow for expanded cultivation facilities. However, three years later, it still has not made any progress on new facility approvals.
The new bill, House Bill H.R.601 — 116th Congress (2019-2020), looks to do what other federal agencies have not been able, or willing to do. It will force the issue and require that new research, as well as production, be allowed in order to expand research possibilities.
A similar bill was introduced to the House last year and approved by the House Judiciary Committee. However, before it could be reviewed by the entire chamber, it fizzled. With a different view on marijuana this year, perhaps it will now have its chance.