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President Signs Schatz Bill To Expand Marijuana Research Into Law

Schatz Bill Is First Major Marijuana Bill To Be Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden signed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act into law. The new law, authored by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), will expand research into marijuana-derived medications.

The goal of the law is to facilitate research on marijuana and its potential health benefits. The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act will accomplish this by streamlining the application process for scientific marijuana studies and removing existing barriers for researchers that frequently slow the research process.

“The medical community agrees that we need more research to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits,” said Senator Schatz. “Our new law will remove excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options.”

In addition to Schatz, Feinstein, and Grassley, the Senate bill was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Cannabis containing more than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC) is currently classified as a Schedule I drug. As a result, medical research is subject to stringent regulations that have impeded progress. Few marijuana-derived products have been FDA-approved, and there is little available information about their interactions with other medications, appropriate doses or delivery mechanisms.

The goal of the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act is to ensure that research on CBD and other potentially beneficial marijuana-derived substances is based on sound science while also reducing regulatory barriers associated with conducting research on marijuana.

The new law also requires the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health to submit a report to Congress on the potential harms and benefits of marijuana use.