Shop legal, local weed.


Congress sends marijuana research bill to Biden’s desk, finally

Published on November 17, 2022
The new law would lower barriers to scientific research of medical marijuana. (AdobeStock)

After a seven-month delay caused by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act has finally been sent to President Joe Biden’s desk for signing.

The bill is intended to lessen the burden of studying cannabis. Currently, the federal Schedule I status of marijuana makes it extremely difficult for researchers to legally obtain and study the plant.

If you thought this bill had already been passed, you’re not alone. The House and Senate approved the measure last spring. Leafly’s David Downs covered that action on April 4, 2022. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) set it on a fast track for approval, which requires approval from both majority and minority party leaders. But Cornyn, a Texas Republican, objected to the bill’s fast-pass status.

In September, Marijuana Moment’s Kyle Jaeger reported that Cornyn didn’t object to the substance of the bill. It’s just that the Texas senator was frustrated that the Senate hadn’t passed more of his own bills, and decided to express that anger by blocking all House bills set on similar unanimous consent tracks in the Senate.

Sen. Cornyn removed his objections earlier this week, following the midterm elections.

Doctors have reported for decades that marijuana’s federal Schedule I status—designating it as a drug as dangerous as heroin—blocks basic drug trials. A generation of patients has undertaken those trials on themselves. (Ninety-two percent of medical cannabis users reported efficacy in one state survey in 2014.)

Currently, 38 states have legalized cannabis medically. Of those states, 21 have legalized for all adults. Yet marijuana remains a federal Schedule I substance.

The new Act—sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and eight other senators—doesn’t change weed’s Schedule I status. But it does force the federal government to allow more researchers to grow medical cannabis, and allows doctors to talk about marijuana without fear of losing their medical license, as well as other modest tweaks.

Shop highly rated dispensaries near you

Showing you dispensaries near
See all dispensaries
Bruce Barcott
Bruce Barcott
Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.
View Bruce Barcott's articles
Get good reads, local deals, and strain spotlights delivered right to your inbox.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to Leafly's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.