White House Now Favors Cannabis Research

White House Lifts Ban on Cannabis Research

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will remove current policies that have continually hampered cannabis research over the years. The policy update will eliminate the Public Health Service review requirement which, to sum up, was a long tedious bureaucratic process that could take over a year and stifled many researchers before they could even get out of the gates. In fact, due to this arduously slow process, the research industry had long considered cannabis more difficult to study than cocaine and heroin as it was the only Schedule 1 substance forced to go through this review process.

“This announcement shows that the White House is ready to move away from the war on medical marijuana and enable the performance of legitimate and necessary research.” Bill Piper – Director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s office of national affairs

Over the years the United States has prided itself on being a world leader. Becoming the best at as many things as possible. Perhaps that is in part the reasoning behind the latest change in the United States policy on cannabis. Countries like Australia and Germany are seeing unprecedented donations made to medical cannabis research and becoming the world leaders in the space. Lifting these restrictions, especially at this time, certainly reflects the fact the government is acknowledging that in terms of research on cannabis, we have fallen well behind. The effort to become a world leader starts at the top and this specific move has been well received by state representatives.

“The White House is right to lift a major barrier to conducting essential medical marijuana research…The onerous requirement took too long and cost too much to complete, discouraging research that would have furthered our understanding of medical marijuana and its potential treatment of illness and disease.” – Senator Kirsten Gillibrand(D-NY)

Senate support of this act should come as no surprise as just weeks ago the House of Representatives and Senate both passed legislation that, in essence, protects cannabis businesses and consumers from federal prosecution provided they are operating within state laws.

Activist groups like Americans for Safe Access are hoping to push the envelope even further and move cannabis out of the Schedule 1 section of the Controlled Substances Act. The category was meant to house substances like cocaine and heroin; drugs that serve no medical benefit to the community. This move by the Obama Administration will certainly lead to a progression in cannabis research. This research, combined with a recent statement made by the US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, indicate that declassification may be imminent once medical benefits are proven through comprehensive studies.

“Dr. Murthy’s comments add to a growing consensus in the medical community that marijuana can help people suffering from painful conditions. It’s crazy that federal law still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, a category that’s supposed to be reserved for substances with no medical value. In light of these comments from his top medical adviser, the president should direct the attorney general to immediately begin the process of rescheduling marijuana.” – Chairman Tom Angell – Marijuana Majority 

What do you think about this cannabis research policy reform? Will it ultimately lead to reclassification and federal legalization? Join the conversation and comment below!

Photo credit: Christopher Skor & Craig Garner