APA actively supported cannabis research bills that passed the House, the “Medical Marijuana Research Act” (H.R. 3797), and Senate, the “Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act” (S.2032) before the holidays. The House bill would have allowed scientists to access state-regulated cannabis products for research, and although the Senate bill did not support access to those products, it did shorten the timeline for review of research protocols. Unfortunately, differences between the two bills could not be reconciled in time to include them in the catch-all omnibus bill that eventually passed both chambers and was signed into law. However, passage of the individual bills was a significant step forward in APA’s advocacy efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on psychologists and other scientists interested in pursuing cannabis research. It also bodes well for further progress in this new Congress. Another more expansive bill, the MORE Act (H.R.3884), also passed the House and contained provisions to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act altogether. That provision was a non-starter in the Senate, so the bill had no chance of moving further but its passage might hint at how cannabis regulation might be dealt with in the future, as five states recently passed new laws allowing recreational use of cannabis (Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota) or medicinal use (Mississippi) in the most recent election.
For more information, contact Geoff Mumford, PhD.