U.S. Reps. Donna Shalala (D-FL) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) filed legislation Sept. 12 that would help facilitate research into the potential medical benefits and health impacts of cannabis, according to a CBS Miami report.
Called the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act, the bill would reclassify cannabis as a Schedule III controlled substance. The legislation calls for a national cannabis research agenda and directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on the health impacts of cannabis, as well as establish a National Institutes of Health “Centers of Excellence” research designation, CBS Miami reported.
“For years now, states across the country have been liberalizing their cannabis laws without making corresponding investments in developing a better scientific understanding of the short- and long-term benefits and effects of cannabis on human health,” Shalala said in a public statement. “By rescheduling cannabis and directing our national research infrastructure to study and collect data on how it impacts health outcomes, we are not only bringing federal cannabis policy into the 21st century, but we’re also guaranteeing that we do so safely.”
“I am proud to work with Congresswoman Shalala on the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act,” added Gaetz. “This bipartisan and bicameral legislation will improve, expedite and streamline cannabis research; by rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III, this bill will lessen the conflict between states and the federal government, and by designating ‘Centers of Excellence in Cannabis Research,’ it will help unlock cures for America’s most vulnerable populations.”
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried has announced her support of the legislation.
“On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients in Florida, I thank Congresswoman Shalala and Congressman Gaetz for their bipartisan leadership in Congress to further critical cannabis research,” Fried said in a public statement. “Federal cannabis policy must be changed to better provide safe and compassionate treatment options for those in need, and the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act is a welcome step forward."