There are currently 11 states that have legalized adult-use cannabis, and medical cannabis is legal in 33 states, though the federal government lists marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic and does not recognize it as having any medicinal properties.
Florida Representatives Matt Gaetz (FL-01) and Donna Shalala (FL-27) have introduced bipartisan legislation to facilitate cannabis research and study its potential medical benefits and public health impacts.
On Thursday, September 12, Gaetz and Shalala introduced the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act (HB4322) which would create a national cannabis research agenda and direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to gather data on the health impacts of cannabis.
“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,” said Representative Shalala. “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.”
HB4322 would establish a National Institutes of Health Centers of Excellence research designation and move cannabis to the Schedule III category from the Schedule I designation where it has resided since the 1970s.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried calls the Expanding Cannabis Research and Information Act a welcome step forward and says that federal cannabis policy needs to change to better provide safe and compassionate treatment options for those in need.
Last week, the DEA proposed increasing the amount of cannabis produced for research to facilitate the growing amount of approved cannabis research in the United States.