Amendment to 21st Century Cures Bill Would Encourage Marijuana Research
Republican Congressmen H. Morgan Griffith (VA-09) and Andy Harris, M.D., (MD-01), and Democratic Congressmen Sam Farr (CA-20) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) on Wednesday introduced the “Credible Research on Medical Efficacy of Marijuana Amendment” to the 21st Century Cures Act, or H.R. 6, which is currently scheduled to be considered on the House floor this week.
The amendment focuses on removing barriers that inhibit research on marijuana. This amendment encourages the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to initiate and collaborate on research about the medical risks and benefits of marijuana.
This does not change marijuana from a Schedule I drug, but does create a new subclassification within Schedule I – “Schedule 1R” for marijuana that would make research easier to conduct.
“There has been little research into potential therapeutic benefits and risks of medical marijuana use,” said Congressman Griffith. “In many cases, research into specific relief it provides, how it can best be used, etc. has been obstructed by federal obstacles.
“This amendment is a responsible approach to increasing research and pursuing the answers to questions being asked by so many patients, doctors, researchers, and policy makers about medicinal marijuana,” said Griffith said.
“Our drug policy should be based on sound science, which is sorely lacking on the medical efficacy of marijuana,” Dr. Harris said. “We need science to clearly determine whether marijuana has medicinal benefits and if so, what is the best way to gain those benefits.
“This amendment encourages more research and more collaboration in the study of marijuana by removing barriers currently in place,” Dr. Harris said.
“Given the widespread use of medical marijuana, it is imperative that doctors better understand how it can be used to treat different people and conditions, as well as the risks involved,” Congressman Blumenauer said. “Our amendment shows members of Congress with widely varying views on marijuana policy are united in support of building a robust body of scientific information on medical marijuana.”
“As more and more states pass medical marijuana laws, it is clear the federal government needs to rethink our federal policy,” Congressman Farr said. “Both sides of this issue agree that debate needs to be centered on science and not rhetoric.
“Allowing research to occur will give policymakers the information necessary to determine the proper role of medical marijuana in our country,” Farr said.
The 21st Century Cures Act was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and will take bold action to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of promising new treatments and cures for patients, as well as maintains our nation’s standing as the biomedical innovation capital of the world.
Photo: Andrew Hetherington/Redux