The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would dramatically broaden the country’s access to cannabis for research purposes. A full House floor vote is not yet scheduled, but the committee action is a significant headline in a Republican-controlled legislature.
The Medical Cannabis Research Act would open the door to a more robust federal licensing process that would allow medical-grade cannabis to be grown for state-funded research. Since 1968 and up to the present day, only the University of Mississippi has held such a license.
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), was introduced earlier this year amid an ongoing national debate over how to counteract the opioid addiction crisis. “It is important to promote further research into the curative potential of medical cannabis, so scientists can unlock its full potential,” Gaetz wrote in May. “Medical cannabis can help America fight the opioid epidemic — and more research can