The House passed a bill that would make it easier for scientists to conduct marijuana research in states where the drug is legal, reports Politico. It passed Wednesday on a voice vote with strong bipartisan support. Last Friday, the House passed a landmark bill that would end federal marijuana penalties and erase some past convictions. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree that research into the health effects of marijuana is needed. The bill is co-sponsored by two lawmakers from opposite ends of the spectrum on marijuana legalization: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is the unofficial cannabis czar on Capitol Hill, while Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is known for an appropriations rider barring Washington D.C., from taxing and regulating a marijuana market.
Marijuana research legislation also has strong support in the Senate from lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Dan Sullivan (R-AL), have proposed marijuana research legislation. Marijuana research is limited to few variations grown by the University of Mississippi, the only entity that can legally grow marijuana under federal law for research. The Drug Enforcement Administration never has licensed other research cultivators. A proposed rule on research marijuana earlier this year drew criticism from advocates and researchers, in part because it would make the DEA the centralized distributor of all research marijuana. The House bill authorizes a program that would license additional producers and manufacturers of research marijuana. Researchers with federal licenses could use that marijuana for FDA-approved research. The Senate is unlikely to bring the bill up for a vote this year, but its passage sets a marker for the next session.