Bipartisan ‘DANK Cannabis Research’ Bill Submitted to Congress (Really)

A bipartisan duo of congressional lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday to establish a federal marijuana research program and create a designation allowing universities to conduct cannabis studies with federal grants.

The legislation from Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) is titled the “Key Cannabis Research Development and Nationalization Act.” The text of the bill does not abbreviate the title, so it is not clear if the intention was to play into the nomenclature of cannabis consumers with the introduction of the WET Cannabis Research Act.

Either way, the measure would require the National Institutes on Health (NIH) to work with other agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). to develop “a national cannabis program”. research agenda that addresses key questions and evidence gaps.

This program should include six main research objectives. For example, agencies should prioritize studies of the safety and efficacy of cannabis in treating multiple conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-related pain and nausea, as well as the use of marijuana as an alternative to opioids.

Other items on the agenda include research into the effects of cannabis on “at-risk populations” such as children and pregnant women, the “non-therapeutic impacts” of marijuana, the relationship between cannabis use and behavioral health, “clinically appropriate dosages and modes of administration of cannabis” and other public safety considerations related to potency, youth access and abuse.

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Under the legislation, federal agencies would also be mandated to work together to “conduct surveillance activities to collect population-level cannabis use data.”

There would be data collection on health outcomes, demographics, product types and delivery methods and “other relevant health information to improve understanding of cannabis use across all groups.” age and subpopulations”.

In addition, the bill calls for data to be compiled from “public health surveillance systems, surveys, questionnaires, and health care record databases,” such as the Federally funded Health Monitoring the Future.

A privacy provision is attached to this section, stating that data collection must be conducted in a manner that “protects privacy to the extent, at a minimum, required by applicable federal and state law.”

The third section of the legislation would require the head of the NIH to designate certain universities as “cannabis research centers of excellence for the purposes of interdisciplinary research related to cannabis and other cannabis-related biomedical, behavioral, and social issues.”

Institutions interested in receiving this designation should submit an application to the NIH containing information about their research capabilities, their ability to coordinate studies in different disciplines, their staff and facilities, qualifications to administer academic courses to train students, and professionals on marijuana-related topics and state funding opportunities.

“In selecting institutions of higher education to be designated as Centers of Excellence in Cannabis Research, the NIH Director will give priority to institutions with a proven track record in medical cannabis research,” the statement said. measure. Designations would be valid for five years, after which an institution could reapply.

The NIH would have the authority to award grants or enter into cooperative research agreements with up to 10 cannabis research centers of excellence, and they could distribute $50 million for each fiscal year from 2024 to 2028.

“The NIH Director will promptly disseminate the results of research under this subsection to appropriate government, academic, and research entities,” the measure reads.

Finally, the bill contains a section aimed at streamlining the registration process for university researchers interested in conducting cannabis studies. Designated centers of excellence for cannabis research would also be protected from federal penalties for obtaining marijuana from legal state dispensaries for study.

The bill is substantially similar to a measure introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in 2019, as well as a companion measure introduced by some House lawmakers that year, but a key difference is that the Previous legislation also included a provision to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Its exclusion is perhaps an acknowledgment that many proponents of cannabis legalization now believe it would be an inadequate reform compared to removing the plant from the CSA altogether.

The tabling of this latest legislation comes the same week the U.S. House of Representatives separately voted to approve another bipartisan marijuana research bill that also aims to speed up and simplify the process of obtaining permission to study the risks and benefits of marijuana. This measure, which would not allow researchers to study cannabis in dispensaries, should be taken up by the Senate shortly before potentially being sent to the office of the president.

Read the text of the new marijuana research bill below:

San Francisco lawmakers consider decriminalization of psychedelics

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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