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Unanimous! Senate passes H.R. 8454 Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

There appears to be one thing in America that both Republican and Democratic Senators agree on - medical marijuana research!

Medical Marijuana Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act

Unanimous! Senate passed H.R. 8454 (Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act)

For the first time in American history, a standalone marijuana bill has passed both the House and the Senate, introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to expand research into medications derived from the marijuana plant.

The bill passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan 325-95 vote in July 2022. under Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.) President Biden is expected to sign the act into law.

What Is the Medical Marijuana Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act?

  • History-making medical marijuana legislation.

  • Facilitates research on marijuana and its potential health benefits.

  • Streamlines the application process for scientific marijuana studies.

  • Removes existing barriers for researchers.

What about the U.S. Attorney General?

  • Given a 60-day deadline to either approve applications or request more info.

  • Create a pathway for researchers who need large quantities of cannabis.

What About the Food and Drug Administration (FDA?)

  • The bill would encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop cannabis-derived medicines.

“There is substantial evidence that marijuana-derived medications can and are providing major health benefits. Our bill will make it easier to study how these medications can treat various conditions, resulting in more patients being able to easily access safe medications,” Senator Feinstein said. “We know that cannabidiol-derived medications can be effective for conditions like epilepsy. This bill will help refine current medical CBD practices and develop important new applications. After years of negotiation, I’m delighted that we’re finally enacting this bill that will result in critical research that could help millions.”

What About the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA?)

  • Gets a mandate to approve applications to be manufacturers of marijuana-derived, FDA-approved drugs under the bill.

  • Manufacturers would also be allowed to import cannabis materials to facilitate research into the plant’s therapeutic potential.

What About the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS?)

  • Requires the HHS to review the health benefits and risks of marijuana.

  • Review policies that are inhibiting cannabis research for legal states.

  • Provide recommendations.

What About Talking with my Doctors About Medical Marijuana?

Patients and doctors will be given new protections at the federal level.

The bill states that it “shall not be a violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) for a State-licensed physician to discuss” the risk and benefits of marijuana and cannabis-derived products with patients.

What Changed in the Senate and House Versions?

A few changes have been made to the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act.

  1. Researchers don’t need to notify or receive a review from DEA if change study protocols, as long as they already have a Schedule I registration.

  2. The DOJ must carry out a review in consultation with HHS.

  3. HHS must submit a report to Congress if it determines that the supply is inadequate.

  4. A section of the original bill concerning the importation of CBD for research purposes was removed.

Meanwhile, large-scale infrastructure legislation that was signed by President Biden last year contains provisions aimed at allowing researchers to study the actual marijuana that consumers are purchasing from state-legal businesses instead of having to use only government-grown cannabis.

What If I Want to Try Medical Marijuana or CBD Products?

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