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Dingell Bill to Open Cannabis Research Receives Key Hearing

Washington, January 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee held a hearing on Congresswoman Debbie Dingell’s (D-MI) Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019. This legislation addresses the burdensome processes that currently impede legitimate medical research on cannabis.

“Cannabis has many medical benefits, but the Federal government has gotten in the way of further medical research that’d help us better understand the effects,” said Dingell. “Removing barriers that prevent research will help provide additional treatment options for millions of patients. It’s important we encourage cannabis research so we can tap into its endless medical possibilities.”

Dingell co-led this bipartisan piece of legislation with Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Rob Bishop (R-UT).  The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019 would amend the Controlled Substances Act to establish a new, separate registration process to facilitate research on cannabis for medical purposes.

The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019 addresses two major barriers currently faced by researchers who wish to conduct legitimate medical research with cannabis, a Schedule I drug. First, it creates a new, less cumbersome registration process specifically for cannabis, reducing approval wait times, costly security measures, and additional, unnecessary layers of protocol review. Second, once researchers have been approved to conduct this research, this bill makes it easier for those researchers to obtain the cannabis they need for their studies through reforms in both production and distribution regulations. To this end, the bill also allows for the private manufacturing and distribution of cannabis solely for research purposes. Currently, the only cannabis available to be used in research legally comes from a single contract the National Institute on Drug Abuse holds with the University of Mississippi.

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