Federal Marijuana Research Bill Now Law

President Biden recently signed a bill into law that eases federal restrictions on marijuana research.

The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol (CBD) Research Expansion Act establishes a new, separate registration process to facilitate research on marijuana. The Act directs the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to follow specific procedures to register:

  • Practitioners to conduct marijuana research, and
  • Manufacturers to supply marijuana for the research.

The Act allows certain registered entities (institutes of higher education, practitioners, and manufacturers) to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess marijuana or CBD for the purpose of medical research.

The Act includes other provisions including those that:

  • Require the DEA to assess whether there is an adequate and uninterrupted supply of marijuana for research purposes;
  • Prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from reinstating the interdisciplinary review process for marijuana research;
  • Allow physicians to discuss the potential harms and benefits of marijuana and its derivatives (including CBD) with patients; and
  • Require the HHS, in coordination with the National Institute of Health and relevant federal agencies, to report on the therapeutic potential of marijuana for various conditions such as epilepsy, and the impact of marijuana and CBD use on adolescent brains, and the ability to operate a motor vehicle while using marijuana.

Why is the Act significant?

The Act lessens federal restrictions on marijuana, which is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance, by making it easier for researchers to petition for and utilize large amounts of marijuana. In addition, the Act simplifies the application process for the approval of scientific marijuana-related studies, making it easier for researchers to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of cannabis and CBD.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer questions about laws related to medical and recreational marijuana. To learn more, please visit our website or call 586-726-1000.

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