Lawmakers have introduced a new cannabis research bill in Congress that could receive a House vote as soon as this week.
The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, introduced by U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Andy Harris, R-Md., largely mirrors the Senate’s Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act, which Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, filed in March, according to a Benzinga report.
The U.S. Senate passed the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act March 24, and the new version of the proposal in the House builds on a separate cannabis research bill in that chamber called the Medical Marijuana Research Act, which the House approved in April.
The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act would expand scientific research on cannabis, although it does not include a provision previously included in the Medical Marijuana Research Act that would have allowed researchers to access cannabis from state-legal dispensaries for their studies, Benzinga reported.
The legislation would ease the process for researchers to apply for approval to study cannabis, according to the news outlet, and would require the U.S. attorney general to either approve a cannabis research application or request additional information from the applicant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be required to develop cannabis-derived medications, Benzinga reported, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would be responsible for approving manufacturers seeking to produce cannabis-derived drugs that have received FDA approval.
The bill would also direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate the health benefits and potential risks of cannabis, according to Benzinga.
The House is expected to vote on the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act this week, with action from the Senate expected soon after, the news outlet reported.