A letter has been issued by a bipartisan group of Congress members demanding protections for educational institutes who want to study marijuana.
As it stands, universities and colleges can't work with cannabis in any capacity without fear of losing their federal funding. This stipulation has long been one of the many reasons that research on cannabis has historically been lacking. However, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and a bipartisan group of 25 other congressional lawmakers hope that will soon change.
On Friday, Neguse and his colleagues issued a letter to the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee chair asking the federal government not to withhold money from educational institution wishing to conduct research on cannabis.
The letter called the withholding of federal funds "an undue hurdle for many academic institutions" simply looking to conduct meaningful research. As cannabis becomes increasingly legalized, quality research on the plant becomes more important than ever for creating effective laws and regulations.
"Formal research is especially important as more states legalize medical marijuana," the letter reads. "We need medical professionals who are equipped with the knowledge to discuss competently issues surrounding cannabis and health. Evidence-based research regarding cannabis ought to be encouraged in academic settings, not discouraged."
Since winning his seat in Congress last year, Neguse has made increasing universities' abilities to conduct cannabis research a key concern. He has previously pushed the attorney general's office to license more cultivators of federally-approved research-grade cannabis.
Assuming the federal government does move to license more research marijuana growers allowing more universities to actually access the stuff without fear of punishment would be the obvious next step in increasing the output of high quality cannabis research.