A bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to attach marijuana and CBD research language to a large-scale defense spending bill that’s on the Senate floor this week.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the amendment, which would promote studies into cannabis and its derivatives, provide protections for doctors that discuss marijuana with their patients and encourage the development of Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs based on cannabinoids.
The senators are seeking to include the proposal—titled the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act—in the annual renewal of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The amendment, which is mostly identical to a standalone bill of the same name that the Senate trio introduced last year, would streamline the process of applying to become a federally authorized marijuana manufacturer for research purposes or becoming registered to study cannabis.
The attorney general would be given a 60-day deadline to either approve applications or request supplemental information from applicants. The bill would also create an expedited pathway for researchers who request larger quantities of Schedule I drugs under already approved investigations.
These changes would address an ongoing concern among advocates and scientists, who have expressed frustration that there is currently just one cannabis cultivation facility that can provide material for studies. The qualify of the products the manufacturer produces has been widely questioned, with one study finding that its marijuana is chemically more similar to hemp than commercially available cannabis.