Without the ability to grow cannabis legally, researchers are unable to properly study the safety, efficacy, and medical uses of marijuana. This creates a frustrating catch-22, where the lack of available, legitimate marijuana research leaves Congress unable to examine sufficient evidence to legalize marijuana use.
With a once again uncooperative DOJ, researchers are still unable to obtain licenses to grow and study marijuana.
According to Gaetz, “The Medical Cannabis Research Act helps break that logjam, allowing researchers to study medical cannabis without fear of legal jeopardy.”
The bill also includes permission for doctors employed with the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss medical marijuana with their patients and are allowed to provide information about federally-approved cannabis clinical trials to their veteran patients.
The bill, however, contains a contested provision that prevents anyone with a “conviction for a felony or drug-related misdemeanor” from being affiliated with cannabis research cultivation programs. This has caused some alarm among constituents, particularly The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch, and the Drug Policy Alliance who have condemned the provision, urging Congress “to strike this unnecessary, punitive ban on individuals with previous drug law violations.”