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New Bill Allows Scientists to Access Research Marijuana From Dispensaries

The House passed the bill, now it's up to Biden to sign it.

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The House of Representatives approved a massive infrastructure bill late Friday, which includes allowing researchers to study marijuana purchased from state-licensed dispensaries. The legislation is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The bill will allow scientists to study research cannabis that is not exclusively government-grown, in addition to encouraging states with legal cannabis to educate people about impaired driving.

The move came on the heels of recently approved legislation that would require the VA to conduct clinical trials into the therapeutic potential of marijuana for military veterans.

That bill, sponsored by Rep. Lou Correa (D-Cal), was approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday in an 18-11 vote, with all Democrats in support and all but one Republican opposed.

RELATED: Cannabis Lacks Traditional R&D, But That's About to Change

Bill removes barriers to cannabis research

The new infrastructure measure requires collaboration between the transportation secretary, attorney general and the secretary of health and human services in which the three agencies are expected to complete a public report within two years of the bill’s enactment. The report is expected to contain a recommendation on establishing a national clearinghouse to “collect and distribute samples and strains of marijuana for scientific research that includes marijuana and products containing marijuana lawfully available to patients or consumers in a state on a retail basis” as well as a study that looks deeply into impaired driving. 

The measure also stipulates that scientists working in states that are not yet in the process of legalization should also have access to dispensary products available in jurisdictions that have ended prohibition.

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), who sponsored the research language in the Senate and got it added during a committee markup of the transportation legislation, told Marijuana Moment, which reported this story on Friday, that the bill is “an important step toward researching how we can regulate cannabis-impaired driving safely and accurately…Americans support legalized marijuana, and now Congress is catching up.” 

In the meantime, the DEA recently proposed a significant increase in federal limits for producing psilocybin, psilocin, and marijuana for research purposes.