The U.S. Senate voted Dec. 16 to pass S. 2032, the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act, which would allow the attorney general to increase the number of federally licensed entities authorized to cultivate cannabis for research purposes.
The bill, primarily sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), is a combination of the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, which was previously introduced by Grassley and Feinstein, and the Marijuana Effective Drug Studies Act, which was previously introduced by Schatz, according to a press release from Grassley’s office.
Currently, only the University of Mississippi is authorized to cultivate cannabis for use in FDA-approved clinical studies.
“Existing regulations make medical marijuana research difficult and have prevented us from understanding exactly how medical marijuana can be used safely and effectively to treat various conditions,” Feinstein said in a public statement. “Our bill streamlines the research process and paves the way for marijuana-derived medications that are FDA-approved to treat serious medical conditions, like intractable epilepsy, in a way that will keep consumers safe.”
The U.S. House voted Dec. 9 to pass a similar bill, H.R. 3797, the Medical Marijuana Research Act, which would allow authorized scientists to access cannabis from state-approved cannabis programs for clinical trials.