U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has introduced legislation to remove all federal restrictions on cannabis research, hoping to spark more research into the plant, KHQA reports. The Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act would direct the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop a research agenda.
“With some form of legalization on the books in over 30 states and now Illinois, I want to lift federal restrictions so we can conduct additional medical research on marijuana. We need a better understanding of promising uses of cannabis for treatment, as well as how marijuana use impacts public safety and specific populations – including children, pregnant women, and drivers.” – Durbin, in a press release, via KHQA
The bill would move cannabis from a Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration would still be required to grant licenses for cannabis research.
Under the plan, research institutions would only have to undergo one DEA faculty and staff inspection that would be valid for five to 10 years. Under current law, the DEA must give specific approval for each researcher for every study.
The measure would see HHS collect cannabis research data, data from public health surveys, and public health records related to cannabis use and health outcomes.
According to KHQA, the bill has support from the Illinois State Medical Society, Epilepsy Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Parkinson’s Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, American Public Health Association, and Chicago Medical Society.
Durbin’s is the latest piece of legislation introduced this year at the federal level aimed at reforming cannabis laws. The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing late last month on the SAFE Banking Act which would allow cannabusinesses to access financial services.
According to a Marketwatch analysis, the cannabis industry has already spent $1.6 million on federal lobbying efforts so far this year after totaling $2.7 million in lobby spending in 2018.