🏎️ The Race To Research Cannabis

A bipartisan bill aims to let researchers study the legal cannabis we consume...

Welcome to Four PM — a daily newsletter that provides cannabis industry news & insights from cannabis industry leaders.

The Senate Wants To Study The Cannabis We Consume

Late last night, senators released their $1 trillion infrastructure bill which included good news for the cannabis industry.

With the current status as a schedule I drug in the USA, there are significant constraints in place for anyone seeking to research cannabis.

One such constraint is the locations that researchers can source their cannabis from.

Since 1968, researchers in the U.S have been allowed to obtain cannabis from one source → a facility based at the University of Mississippi, through a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Change Is Coming…

As part of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, senators are seeking to make amendments that would allow researchers to study the actual cannabis products that consumers are purchasing from legal sources in the U.S today.

Cannabis activists have long criticized the fact that researchers can only obtain cannabis from one source, with one of the primary criticisms used by those who oppose the legalization of cannabis being the lack of research into the effects of cannabis usage.

Without having the means to do research with the actual products consumers are purchasing, this argument retains a certain amount of weight, however, with this new initiative — researchers will finally have the means to shine a light on this all-important area.

Cannabis & Driving

Additionally, the bill encourages states that have legalized cannabis to educate people about impaired driving —a hot topic in the cannabis industry as many feel the current tests are very ineffective.

Unlike alcohol, the amount of cannabis in one’s bloodstream is not a very clear signal that someone is impaired due to the tolerances people build when regularly consuming cannabinoids.

This tolerance occurs as a result of the downregulation of our CB1 receptors, which results in consumers having to consume a greater quantity of cannabis to obtain the same results as before.

With this greater quantity, there is now more THC in their body, however, this increased quantity of THC may not have increased one’s level of impairment — which is the flaw in the current approach taken.

A Comprehensive Report…

Should this bill pass, the transportation secretary will need to work with the attorney general and secretary of health and human services to develop a public report within two years of the bill passing.

One of the primary areas this report will cover is allowing scientists to access cannabis from retail stores.

Scientists from states who have not yet legalized cannabis would also be able to access cannabis products from states where cannabis is legal.

Bi-Partisan Support…

The bill is scheduled to be on the floor this week following negotiations between Democrats and Republicans who have worked together on this.

Should this bill get the support it needs in the Senate and the House, the final step is receiving the signature of President-elect Joe Biden.

Our Take

Despite the perception that the republican party wants nothing to do with cannabis — their support of this initiative suggests otherwise.

It’s unlikely that the republican party will openly support the legalization of cannabis, however, we should celebrate each win and in time the sum of these small wins will be enough for cannabis to be fully legalized in the U.S.

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