The Senate has finally released its extensive infrastructure bill after contentious bipartisan negotiations that have drawn out for days.
Included in the legislation are components that would grant researchers the ability access standard commercial cannabis for their studies, easing restrictions that have limited such access to cannabis produced and provided by the University of Mississippi. That restrictive policy has been in place for half a century, with researches complaining about the quality and potency of the permitted supply. The law, if passed, will allow scientists doing research on the plant to access cannabis from legal retail dispensaries, making their findings applicable to use by the public.
The legislation also seeks to influence states that have legalized to wage public education campaigns about the dangers of impaired driving by requiring the transportation secretary to collaborate with the attorney general and secretary of health and human services to p[produce a public report within two years of the bill going into effect. It would require the report to contain recommendations on giving researchers access to commercial grade cannabis for impaired driving studies.
The law also decrees that the report much include a recommendation on creating a national clearinghouse to “collect and distribute” cannabis strains and samples for scientific trials from the same commercially available supplies of the herb and from the same sources as those that patients and recreational users access.
It also states that researchers in states that have not yet passed cannabis reforms, where cannabis is still stage legal, be able to access cannabis from legal retail stores where cannabis is sold to the public in states where the weed is legal to sell to adults.
The text specifying retail dispensary access for researchers had been attached to an earlier version of infrastructure legislation presented in a Senate committee, and is mostly identical to a infrastructure bill provision that was passed by the House.
The language on scientists’ access to retail cannabis products was attached to an earlier version of infrastructure legislation in a Senate committee, and it’s substantively the same as a provision included in a House-passed infrastructure bill.
Vivian McPeak is a Seattle based social justice activist, media personality, and writer. Vivian is the president of Seattle Events, a Non-Profit Organization, producer of the Seattle HEMPFEST®, the world’s largest annual cannabis policy reform rally. The recipient of the High Times Magazine 2012 Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award and DOPE Magazine 2016 Emery Award for lifetime achievement, and in 2016 he was named one of the “50 Most Influential People” by Seattle Magazine. Vivian has appeared on numerous television and cable news networks, including FOX News, CNN, & NBC. McPeak is the host of Hempresent, a weekly radio podcast on Cannabis Radio with listeners on multiple continents.