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House Panel to Take Up Proposal to Boost Medical Cannabis Research

A bill to boost research on the medical benefits of cannabis is expected to be before a congressional committee this week, according to a report in Forbes.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, would require the federal government to issue more licenses for growing cannabis for scientific research. Currently a University of Mississippi farm is the only legal source of marijuana for medical research, but researchers say more sources are needed.

Forbes, citing Gaetz, reported the measure will be before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The measure has 40 co-sponsors and bipartisan support.

There is some opposition to parts of the proposal, however. Forbes reported that some lawmakers who otherwise might support it have problems with a part of the bill that prevents some people with drug conviction records from being able to work in cultivation operations. There also is opposition to a part of the bill requiring manufacturers to get letters of good standing from local law enforcement.  Gaetz said those elements were needed to gain support from some of his fellow Republicans.

“Both sides make fair points,” Gaetz said on Twitter after the Forbes article included the reservations. “But what a shame if disagreement on such a small thing kept us from making University/Hospital/Hospice/VA/MedSchool #MedicalMarijuana research collaboration legal with the vibrant, innovative commercial cannabis industry.”

Separate from the proposed legislation, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration have said in a proposed regulation that the quota for how much cannabis can be grown for research should be much higher.



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