How Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Expands Federal Cannabis Research

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden signed a large infrastructure bill that includes guidelines designed to permit researchers to investigate the cannabis that patients are buying from state-legal cannabis dispensaries versus those using solely government-cultivated cannabis.

The bill also encourages legal cannabis states that have passed legalization laws to educate people about cannabis-impaired driving.

President Biden signed the large-scale bill, a legislative achievement being promoted by Democrats after weeks of controversial debate without explicitly referring to the cannabis provisions within the bill.

The expansion comes as Democratic legislators in Congress work to put forth various pieces of cannabis legislation. This includes a federal cannabis legalization measure that surpassed the gauntlet of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this summer.

A new Republican-led plan to end federal cannabis prohibition was introduced in the House on Monday.

Separately, the entire chamber approved a defense spending bill in September that includes protections for banks that work with state-legal cannabis businesses.

During this time, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee pushed a bill to direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate a series of clinical studies on the medicinal benefits of cannabis for military veterans battling Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and severe pain.

The infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law makes it so the transportation secretary of the US would need to work amidst the attorney general and secretary of health and human services to compose a public report within two years of the measure’s passing that incorporates guidance on allowing scientists to access to retail cannabis to investigate impaired driving.

The cannabis procurement specifies that the report must include a proposal on establishing a national clearinghouse to ‘accumulate and appropriate samples and strains of cannabis for scientific investigation that includes cannabis and products including cannabis lawfully available to patients or consumers in a legal state; on a retail background.’

It stipulates that specialists from states that have not yet passed cannabis legalization should also obtain cannabis dispensary products sold in jurisdictions that have withdrawn cannabis prohibition.

National Institute on Drug Abuse, also referred to as the NIDA, Director Nora Volkow reported to cannabis new outlets in a recent interview that it would be scientifically ‘precious’ for researchers to examine cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries.

The House of Representatives initially passed the infrastructure bill back in the summer with cannabis research preparations constituted. In August, the United States Senate passed its variation of the aforementioned legislation, which included substantively indistinguishable cannabis vernacular. The House of Representative then passed off on the United States Senate’s variation of the bill, giving the bill one final push.

The measure states the cannabis examination report must also widely investigate “federal sanctioned and managerial restrictions’ to examine cannabis-impaired vehicle operations.

The transportation bill also houses a different section that would expect legal cannabis states, and only legal states, to consider educating citizens about and warning impaired driving from cannabis. Cannabis Advocates take issue with that language because it hones in on legalized jurisdictions while turning a blind eye to the fact that cannabis-impaired driving takes place everywhere.

A prototype version of the transportation legislation passed the House of Representatives last congressional session with similar cannabis research preparations. However, it did not pass in the GOP-controlled United States Senate.

Some steps have been taken to fix cannabis research problems. Most notably, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) notified various cannabis companies that it is moving toward finalizing their applications to become federally provisioned cannabis manufacturers for investigation purposes.

That marks a grand development and one of the initial cannabis-related moves to come out of the Biden cabinet. At this time, there is a stronghold on federal cannabis cultivation. The University of Mississippi has been operating the only approved cannabis cultivation facility in the United States for the last 50 years. This bill will change all of that. 

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