A new bill could open the floodgates for medicinal cannabis research. A bipartisan group of legislators led by Florida Congressperson, Matt Gaetz (R) brought the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 to Capitol Hill last Thursday.

Rep. Geatz told WUWF that the laws can't be changed without research to back it up, but the research is difficult to conduct because of cannabis prohibition.

“[O]ften times we cannot perform research without changing the law. Our bill ends this log jam, by opening access to cannabis research and pursuing potential cures wherever we may find them.”

The act would ensure that academic and medical institutions would not be at risk of losing grants if they wish to conduct cannabis research, allowing for more collaboration between researchers and the private sector as well as increasing the number of research-grade cannabis producers from one to three.

“What we’re all proposing today is that research institutions and the federal government be allowed...to learn about this substance, potential benefits, potential risks," said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), one of the 25 members of Congress who has signed the bill. "The truth about marijuana, about cannabis, should be known and laid out for everyone to see.”

To do that, the government needs to remove stigmas around cannabis research.

“What we don’t need is a federal government-led witch hunt against those who are following state laws, those who want to conduct research, those who want to inform the public,” Curbelo added.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) says the proposed changes are essential to providing veterans with the care  they need and appropriate access to medicinal cannabis. through Veteran's Affairs.

"Our veterans deserve to be able to be treated with the type of health care treatment that they think, and their physicians think, would relieve their pain or relieve their disease or provide for the quality of life that they so deserve,” Lee said.

Geatz is optimistic about the act's chances of getting passed.

"I have a high level of confidence that it will be marked up and passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, which will be historic,” said Gaetz. “Never before in Republican control of the Congress has the Judiciary committee even taken up the issue of cannabis reform. And, certainly under Dem and GOP control of congress, we’ve moved far too slowly.”

Hopefully the Medical Cannabis Research Act will speed up marijuana reform in America.