House Committee to Discuss Allowing Cannabis Research

The House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee will meet today to discuss the ongoing federal barriers to cannabis research.

Full story after the jump.

The House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee is set to hold a hearing today about the disconnect between federal and state cannabis laws and the federal barriers to cannabis research, the Hill reports.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) called the divide between federal and state cannabis laws “a chasm” and said she wants officials from both the Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Agency to explain to the panel why the federal agencies are potentially blocking cannabis research.

“It’s very important if you’re going to be using cannabis for medicinal purposes, you need to have the data, the outcomes and all of that, so that needs to be examined.” — Eshoo, to the Hill

Only the University of Mississippi has permission to grow cannabis for the federal government and has been the sole grower of cannabis since 1968. The federal government still supplies cannabis to medical patients approved under the Investigational New Drug program; there are only two surviving members of that program.

In a letter to the panel, cannabis industry stakeholders said that the industry supports “robust federal regulatory guidance and oversight that informs the development of additional safety protocols and produces greater regulatory consistency of product marketing, safety and oversight across state and national borders.” They added that rescheduling cannabis “may provide some benefit in facilitating research” but could “complicate the federal-state relationship with respect to cannabis.”

The panel is expected to discuss the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act – a federal measure that would effectively end federal cannabis prohibition – although the bill is not assigned to the Energy and Commerce Committee. That measure passed the House Judiciary Committee last November and was moved out of the House Small Business Committee, which waived its jurisdiction.

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