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Dingell, Blumenauer, Griffith Medical Marijuana Research Legislation Advances to House Floor

Would allow scientists to research marijuana sold at dispensaries

Washington, September 9, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee advanced bipartisan legislation led by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Congressman H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) that would eliminate barriers on the legitimate research of medical marijuana.

 “There is a strong need to better understand the medicinal benefits of marijuana, but researchers don’t have the tools necessary to conduct proper, science-driven research,” said Dingell. “That research Requires us to remove outdated barriers that prevent research. Doing so will improve our understanding of medical marijuana and provide additional treatment options for millions of patients.”

“As momentum grows in our effort to end the failed prohibition of cannabis, we also need to address failed drug laws like the ones that make it extremely difficult for researchers and doctors to study cannabis. With some form of cannabis legal in nearly every state, it’s inexcusable that the federal government is still blocking qualified researchers from advancing the scientific knowledge of cannabis,” Blumenauer said. “The bipartisan support of our legislation in today’s committee markup is an important step in removing unnecessary barriers to medical cannabis research and ensuring that patients, clinicians, and consumers can fully understand the benefits and risks of cannabis.”

“Whatever our views on marijuana legalization as legislators, we all ought to support the collection of scientific data to guide our decisions,” said Griffith. “This bipartisan legislation would make long-overdue improvements to the Federal Government’s policies on marijuana research. It would advance the work of scientists and provide more reliable information about any benefits and harmful consequences that result from medicinal marijuana use.”

The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019 would:

  • Amend the Controlled Substances Act to establish a new, separate registration process to facilitate research with marijuana for medical purposes;
  • Encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce the wait time for approval research registration applications;
  • Direct FDA to issue guidelines on the production of marijuana from authorized researchers and manufacturers; 
  • Make available marijuana from state authorized marijuana programs; and
  • Ensure all medical marijuana researchers are in compliance with FDA drug development standards.

Currently, the Federal government only allows researchers to use marijuana provided by the University of Mississippi. According to researchers, the marijuana provided by the University of Mississippi more resembles hemp than the medical or recreational marijuana produced by state-licensed providers. This has hindered researchers ability to understand the full extent of the medical benefits of marijuana. 

According to a recent report, the U.S. has spent roughly $1.5 billion on marijuana research from 2008 to 2019. The vast majority of that research was focused on the potential harm, not medical potential, of marijuana.

Co-leads of the legislation alongside Dingell are U.S. 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). 

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