The House of Representatives recently approved HR 5657, also known as The Medical Marijuana Research Act. The legislation facilitates cannabis research by establishing protocols for authorized scientists to access marijuana flowers and other marijuana products that are produced in accordance with state-approved marijuana programs. 

In addition, the bill seeks to expedite the time frame allowed for federal officials to approve or deny applications for clinical trial licensure. The bill also strives to increase the total number of federally-approved and licensed marijuana growers.

The Legislation

The bill was introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in response to years of complaints from scientists wishing to study medical marijuana who felt that the process to procure approval and licensure from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was overly arduous and time consuming. Scientists also have complained that the marijuana provided by University of Mississippi’s cultivation program (which was granted a federal cultivation license in 1968)  does not match the quality of product that can be procured by state’s legal markets.

Rep. Blumenauer stated about the legislation, “The cannabis laws in this country are broken, including those that deal with the medical research of marijuana. … I am prepared to work with my friends in the Senate to reconcile differences between this legislation and the Senate-passed Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act.”

A previous version of the legislation was passed by the House in 2020, but was never taken up by the Senate.

The House voted to approve the bill 343 to 75. All votes against the bill were cast by Republicans.

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