Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 (H.R. 5634). This narrowly tailored, bipartisan bill is designed to facilitate and encourage federally-approved clinical trials testing the potential medicinal effects of chemicals found in the marijuana plant.
Specifically, the Medical Cannabis Research Act increases the number of federally-approved manufacturers of research-grade marijuana from one to three, and would set strict criteria for those manufacturers to obtain and renew their registrations. Currently, only the University of Mississippi is permitted to grow research-grade marijuana.
The legislation also makes clear under the law that Department of Veterans Affairs health care providers are allowed to provide information about federally-approved cannabis clinical trials to their veteran patients. By providing both a sufficient supply of research-grade product and a sufficient supply of people to participate, this bill will help produce scientific data about whether or not the chemicals in marijuana can be medically helpful.
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), chief sponsor of the Medical Cannabis Research Act, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), an original cosponsor of the bill, praised today’s approval of the legislation in the statements below.
Chairman Goodlatte: “While there are many varying opinions on the issue of marijuana, one thing we all can agree on is that we need qualified researchers to study the science to determine if there are any potential medicinal benefits to chemicals derived from cannabis. I thank Congressman Gaetz for working with me on crafting the Medical Cannabis Research Act to improve and encourage the study of medical marijuana. I applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approving this bipartisan bill today.”
Congressman Gaetz: “I am glad that the Judiciary Committee has reported the Medical Cannabis Research Act favorably, sending it to the House for a vote. For too long, Congress has faced a dilemma with cannabis-related legislation: we cannot reform cannabis law without researching its safety, its efficacy, and its medical uses — but we cannot perform this critical research without first reforming cannabis law. The Medical Cannabis Research Act helps break that logjam, allowing researchers to study medical cannabis without fear of legal jeopardy. I am grateful for the support of Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who was instrumental in developing this legislation, and for the committee’s bipartisan vote to support medical research. This vote will help unlock American innovation and discovery, and help researchers bring the cures of the future a little closer to reality.