U.S. Senate Unanimously Approves Marijuana Reform Bill On Same Day That House Schedules Legalization Vote.

By Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment

The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a marijuana bill—but not the federal legalization measure that advocates have been eagerly awaiting Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to bring to the floor. Rather, it’s a modest bipartisan piece of legislation that’s simply meant to promote research into marijuana.

The bill—sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA)—is titled the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act. It cleared the full chamber unanimously, without debate.

Marijuana researcher with plants

It would streamline the application process for researchers who want to study the plant and to encourage the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop cannabis-derived medicines.

It would also clarify that physicians are allowed to discuss the risks and benefits of marijuana with patients and require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report on those potential health benefits, as well one on barriers to cannabis research and how to overcome those obstacles.

“Current rules and regulations make it hard for researchers to study how marijuana and marijuana-derived medications can best be used to treat various conditions,” Feinstein said in a press release. “This important legislation will cut the red-tape around the research process, helping get FDA-approved, marijuana-derived medications safely to patients.”

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