Earlier this week, a congressional committee revealed its plans to vote on a legislation that will enable scientists to study cannabis products from state-legal dispensaries. The 1,200-page legislation, which has been advanced to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will allow researchers to carry out research on impaired driving using actual cannabis products that consumers use and purchase. Additionally, it would enable the interstate distribution of marijuana to researchers in jurisdictions that are yet to legalize the plant.
This isn’t the first time the bill has been introduced, as an earlier version that had similar cannabis provisions was passed in the House last Congress. However, that measure wasn’t approved in the Senate, which was GOP-controlled.
The current bill, which was sponsored by Peter DeFazio who is chair of the House Transportation Committee, also contains a provision that would compel states where cannabis is legal to consider educating people about and discourage them from driving while under the influence of marijuana.
However, advocates disagree with the language used in the provision, as it targets jurisdictions where cannabis is legal while ignoring the fact that cannabis-impaired driving occurs whether or not the herb is legal. Those advocates are, however, encouraged by the clause that calls on the Department of Transportation to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to create a report that has recommendations on offering scientists access to strains and samples of cannabis and products that contain cannabis lawfully being provided to consumers or patients in legal states.
The clause notes that the report should also look into establishing a clearing house to gather and distribute strains and samples of cannabis for scientific research, which would include marijuana from state-legal markets. In addition to this, the legislation notes that the report should also examine regulatory and statutory barriers that would hinder scientific research from being conducted.
The measure also calls for the amendment of present law to include a section stipulating that states with legalized recreational and medical cannabis legislation shall consider adding programs to decrease deaths and injuries that occur as a result of cannabis-impaired driving as well as educate drivers on the risks linked to cannabis-impaired driving. However, some advocates have disagreed with the implication that legalizing marijuana increases the risk of individuals driving while impaired.
If this bill is enacted, it could potentially remove some of the hurdles that companies such as XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) face in their efforts to develop cannabis-based medicinal formulations.
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