It is interesting that everyone, no matter their stance on the issue of legalization, is in favor of research into medical marijuana. Parties from all sides are co-sponsoring a cannabis bill. Many agree that the government should not interfere with legitimate, scientific, medical research of cannabis. Pro-legalization advocates, law enforcement, medical and scientific communities as well as policy lawmakers all agree that there are foundational barriers within the current regulatory program. These barriers make it difficult to conduct research and access objective evidence as to the medicinal properties of cannabis.
Back in 2016, when the Medical Marijuana Research Act was introduced, there were 25 medical states, with 4 of those 25 also being recreational. After the election, 4 more states joined the medical side and the number of recreational went to 8. Then in 2018 recreational use came to Michigan while medical arrived in Missouri and Utah. Today, 33 states have medical programs and 11 states have now gone recreational. While there is disagreement on the medicinal value of cannabis, everyone agrees that the barriers to cannabis research have blocked the ability to evaluate the risks and benefits associated with cannabis use and to make a responsible policy governing the use. Additionally, there is the burden of the registration process, redundant protocol reviews, absence of proper research material, and needlessly onerous security requirements.
In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, reported “The research on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids has been limited in the US leaving patients, healthcare professionals, and policy lawmakers without the evidence they need to make sound decisions regarding the use of cannabis and cannabinoids. This lack of evidence-based information on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids poses a public health risk.” The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019 would ensure that legitimate research can be conducted on cannabis. The bill would streamline the troubling process and often duplicative licensure process for researchers looking to conduct cannabis research, while maintaining all needed safeguards against misuse and abuse. The bill also addresses the woefully inadequate, dually in quality & quantity, supply of medical grade cannabis available for use in such research. Lastly, it requires that within 5 years (at most) after enactment a report by the secretary of the US Dept of Health & Human services on the status and results of the currently available body of research on cannabis be provided. It is an irrefutable fact that marijuana legalization is rising across America.