The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 could really change the game in the field of medical marijuana in the U.S. and sooner or later most probably around the world if the Congress votes in its favor.
It is stated in the bill that the federal government should increase the number of facilities that will help in the cultivation of cannabis for medical research purposes.
Also stated in the Medical Cannabis Research Act is the requirement of the attorney general to ensure the availability of sufficient and continuous supply of research-grade cannabis.
The Medical Cannabis Research Act was cosponsored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and his office was instrumental in helping to draft the final legislation.
The measure needs the attorney general to approve at least three cannabis suppliers and to set up “safe harbor” provisions for the research facilities.
The bill already has 40 cosponsors supporting it.
As of this moment, the only authorized facility by the federal government to provide cannabis for research purposes is the University of Mississippi.
The biggest downside to this is that the cannabis harvested on
Researchers said that the quality of the bud they receive does not exactly match the medical marijuana used mostly by Americans in locations where it can be accessed legally.
A sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, stated that the H.R. 5634 will expand the research on medical applications of cannabis.
In a press release last April, he then further explained the bill, saying that the bipartisan cannabis reform legislation will improve the quality of scientific research on cannabis while protecting research institutions nationwide.
Gaetz considers a marijuana-related bill which overseas federal drug enforcement be voted by the House Panel a milestone for a Republican-controlled committee.
According to Gaetz it is monumental for the House Judiciary Committee to consider this cannabis-related legislation.
He added that they have not tackled legislation on this topic since 1978 before he was even born but now he has been assured that the committee will take up his legislation.
Despite having bipartisan support and a positive move from the government, the bill still has its issues and concerns.
There are still some cannabis reform advocates who disagree with it specifically with the certain requirement to all employees of approved cultivators.
It states in the proposed legislation that
The reformers believe that there is a continuous disproportionate effect brought by the prohibition to the war on drugs in minority communities.
The bill won’t allow anyone with “conviction for a felony or drug-related misdemeanor” be affiliated with the federally legal bud.
In an interview with High Times, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, Mason Tvert said that “while the advocacy group has not taken a position on H.R. 5634, it is generally against denying opportunity to those with non-violent drug records.”
Tvert also said in an email that the Marijuana Policy Project does not believe in shutting out these types of opportunities to individuals with past convictions, especially those who are only involved in minor and non-violent marijuana-related offenses.
During the interview with Forbes, Matt Gaetz said that he didn’t exactly agree with the prohibition but still thinks that it’s a necessary provision to gain the conservative legislators’ support.
“For many of my Republican colleagues, the most difficult marijuana reform vote to take is the first one and I’m trying to create the most comfortable setting for marijuana skeptics to do something right by their constituents, and that process can yield imperfect legislation that is directionally correct,” Gaetz said.
If the Medical Cannabis Research Act is successful, the dilemma of a U.S. cannabis policy will rectify.
Gaetz mentioned that cannabis has always faced Catch-22 in the Congress; he said that if they won’t start doing research then they couldn’t change cannabis laws but they can’t also keep doing more research without changing the law.
He believed that the bill will finally break the logjam and that this legislation will make for a huge difference to researchers nationwide. It may finally be the help needed to develop cures for those illnesses that still affects America’s many vulnerable populations.