What’s the context? Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree that more research into the health effects of marijuana is needed. The bill is co-sponsored by two lawmakers who stand at opposite ends of the spectrum on marijuana legalization: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is the unofficial cannabis czar on Capitol Hill, while Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) is known for his work on an appropriations rider that restricts Washington D.C. from taxing and regulating a marijuana market.
Marijuana research legislation also has strong support in the Senate, where lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), have proposed marijuana research legislation. This bill, however, does not have a Senate equivalent.
What does this bill do? Marijuana research now is limited to being based on a few variations grown by the University of Mississippi, the only entity that can legally grow marijuana under federal law for research. Scientists have complained for years that what is grown for research doesn’t resemble the marijuana used in the real world.
The DEA has never licensed other research cultivators. In 2016, the agency said it would authorize other growers to help facilitate research. It has received 37 applications, and said in August 2019 that it would move forward with processing those…