A bipartisan coalition of over two-dozen federal lawmakers, including House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL), are backing newly introduced legislation — The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 — to facilitate federally-approved clinical trials involving cannabis.
Passage of this act would end the University of Mississippi’s existing monopoly on the growth of cannabis for clinical research purposes by requiring the licensing of additional manufacturers.
Currently, the US National Institute on Drug Abuse designates the University of Mississippi to be the sole provider of marijuana for FDA-approved research. However, many of those familiar with their product have criticized its quality, opining that it possesses subpar potency, is often poorly manicured, and that it does not accurately reflect the wide variety of cannabis products and strains available to consumers.
Previous efforts to break this monopoly have so far been unsuccessful. In 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner determined that expanding the pool of federally licensed providers would be “in the public interest.” The agency ultimately rejected her decision. More recently, in 2016, the DEA changed its position and amended regulations in a manner to permit additional applicants to apply to federal licensure to grow marijuana. However, the Justice Department and the US Attorney General have thus far failed to take action on any pending applications.
Under this measure, the Justice Department is mandated to act on any application it receives within one calendar year.
Other provisions in the measure explicitly permits VA physicians to provide information to patients regarding their eligibility in clinical trials, and provides a “safe harbor” for universities, clinicians, and patients participating in federally-approved trials from federal interference.
Please click here to urge your federal lawmakers to support The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018!