Seattle Times: End the federal barrier to researching marijuana | ColumnPosted by On


The state of marijuana research law defies common sense. Though Washingtonians are free to purchase an astonishing array of cannabis products for recreational or medical use, many of the state’s finest researchers are handcuffed in their ability to examine the good — or harm — of those same products.

Federal law requires all research in federally funded laboratories to use only marijuana from a single facility — in Oxford, Mississippi, thousands of miles away from Washington’s hundreds of marijuana retailers. This absurd restriction needs to end.

A bill now before the U.S. Senate would improve matters dramatically and deserves approval. The Medical Marijuana Research Act, which passed the House with resounding bipartisan approval, would untie researchers’ hands nationwide. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is a co-sponsor.

Under the bill, qualified researchers in states that have legalized marijuana would be able to perform lab analysis of the cannabis available in those states.

The University of Washington’s laboratories could research the same products Washingtonians of legal age can already buy and consume. Privately funded labs can study the street-legal products, but the top-flight research institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health cannot collaborate.

“There’s currently these two (types of) entities where you can perform research,…

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The state of marijuana research law defies common sense. Though Washingtonians are free to purchase an astonishing array of cannabis products for recreational or medical use, many of the state’s finest researchers are handcuffed in their ability to examine the good — or harm — of those same products.

Federal law requires all research in federally funded laboratories to use only marijuana from a single facility — in Oxford, Mississippi, thousands of miles away from Washington’s hundreds of marijuana retailers. This absurd restriction needs to end.

A bill now before the U.S. Senate would improve matters dramatically and deserves approval. The Medical Marijuana Research Act, which passed the House with resounding bipartisan approval, would untie researchers’ hands nationwide. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is a co-sponsor.

Under the bill, qualified researchers in states that have legalized marijuana would be able to perform lab analysis of the cannabis available in those states.

The University of Washington’s laboratories could research the same products Washingtonians of legal age can already buy and consume. Privately funded labs can study the street-legal products, but the top-flight research institutions funded by the National Institutes of Health cannot collaborate.

“There’s currently these two (types of) entities where you can perform research,…



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