In a 69-30 vote, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Tuesday, which seeks to improve, among other things, the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and...pot. Yes, cannabis research will also get a boost in what the Washington Post called “a historic burst in federal spending.”
Cannabis In The Infrastructure Bill?
The proposal contains provisions that will allow cannabis scientists and researchers to use marijuana that is available to them in local dispensaries, rather than having to utilize only government-provided weed, which researchers have complained about for decades.
A separate amendment to streamline research into cannabis and CBD research, filed last week by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) was not added to the bill, noted Marijuana Moment, though the language on permitting scientists to access retail cannabis is basically the same as the one that was included in the infrastructure bill, passed last week by the House.
Following the bill's passage last week in the House, Dr. Robert Strongin, professor of organic chemistry at Portland State University, told Benzinga that his team of Ph.D. candidates studying vaporization and e-cigarettes, had been restricted for years "to working with tiny analytical samples of THC from standard chemical vendors approved to sell by the DEA. It was not ideal at all.”
The legislation also encourages states that enact legalization laws to educate people about impaired driving.
To that end, the measure calls for the transportation secretary, currently Pete Buttigieg, to work with the attorney general and secretary of health and human services to develop a public report within two years of the bill’s enactment that includes suggestions and recommendations on allowing scientists to access retail cannabis to study impaired driving.
What's In The Cannabis Provision Exactly?
The cannabis provision stipulates that the public report must contain a recommendation on establishing a "national clearinghouse to collect and distribute samples and strains of marijuana for scientific research that includes marijuana and products containing marijuana lawfully available to patients or consumers in a state on a retail basis.”
It further specifies that scientists from states that do not have legal cannabis as yet should also be able to access dispensary products being sold in jurisdictions that have ended prohibition.
The amended legislation now needs to go back to the House for review before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk.
See more from Benzinga
© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.