Shalala, Gaetz Seek to Reschedule Cannabis and Develop National Research Agenda

September 20, 2019 by Sean Trambley

Reps. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act, bipartisan legislation that would facilitate research into the potential medical benefits and public health impacts of marijuana. 

The bill would develop a national cannabis research agenda, direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on the health impacts of cannabis, establish a National Institutes of Health “Centers of Excellence” research designation, and reclassify cannabis as a Schedule III controlled substance.

Currently, 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult cannabis use, while 33 states have legalized medical cannabis use. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration continues to classify cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance with no medical benefit. 

The Expand Cannabis Research and Information Act would allow for a dramatic expansion in research around the health benefits and public safety impacts of cannabis use.

“For years now, states across the country have been liberalizing their cannabis laws without making corresponding investments in developing a better scientific understanding of the short and long-term benefits and effects of cannabis on human health,” Rep. Shalala said. “By rescheduling cannabis and directing our national research infrastructure to study and collect data on how it impacts health outcomes, we are not only bringing federal cannabis policy into the 21st century, but we’re also guaranteeing that we do so safely.”

“I am proud to work with Congresswoman Shalala on the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act,” Gaetz said. “This bipartisan and bicameral legislation will improve, expedite, and streamline cannabis research: by rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III, this bill will lessen the conflict between states and the federal government, and by designating “Centers of Excellence in Cannabis Research,” it will help unlock cures for America’s most vulnerable populations.”

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