Congress Passes Cannabis Provision in New Infrastructure Bill

July 9, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill recently that will aid researchers with gaining access to cannabis that is available commercially in states where it is legal recreationally or medically.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill recently that will aid researchers with gaining access to cannabis that is available commercially in states where it is legal recreationally or medically (1). Previously, researchers were only able to use cannabis that was supplied from a federally licensed manufacture in Mississippi, specifically the University of Mississippi.

Deeply embedded in the infrastructure bill (2), the main goal of this provision is to allow cannabis products to be transported and distributed across state lines. This also includes states that have not yet established state-legal cannabis markets. The bill is called the “Invest in America Act.” The bill also requests that states with cannabis programs need to establish structures regarding driving under the influence of cannabis to educate their residents.

According to a report from Cannabis Newswire, the section on setting up highway safety education programs was not well received by cannabis law reform advocates (1). Cannabis Newswire cited several reasons for this (1) including that the report was authored by a congressional research team who stated that there wasn’t any conclusive evidence that the consumption of marijuana resulted in impaired driving.

Discussions of the bill on the Congress floor granted the suggestions of other amendments to be adopted or rejected. Regardless of the deliberations, cannabis policy reform advocates were excited for researchers to gain more access to commercially available cannabis in states with regulated cannabis markets.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) explained that it has been hard to comprehend why scientists couldn’t access the cannabis available in state-legal dispensaries, yet ordinary residents could walk in and buy these products (1). “Scientific research needed to be conducted using the same products that people are consuming in order to get results which were applicable to the community,” said NORML (1).

All eyes are on the Senate on whether they will preserve the pro-marijuana provisions in the transportation bill. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reportedly taken proactive steps to expand the number of suppliers of research-grade marijuana products.

References:

  1. https://www.cannabisnewswire.com/420-with-cnw-congress-passes-bill-granting-researchers-access-to-commercially-available-marijuana/
  2. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2