The state of Massachusetts is less than two months away from allowing recreational sales of cannabis. But it turns out that's not the only thing that will change when it relates to the state and marijuana.
Many in Massachusetts are hoping that the state can become the new frontier in cannabis research. Under the law that allows legalized marijuana, the state is allowed to give out licenses for marijuana research facilities to academic institutions, nonprofits or corporations. Facilities with these licenses would be allowed to grow or buy their own cannabis for the purpose of research. Obviously, they would be barred from selling it.
Of course, there are certain obstacles blocking some research into the drug. The federal government is in charge of clinical drug trials, meaning any attempts to study the effects marijuana has on an actual person would need approval from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and would also require researchers to use cannabis grown by a government-approved lab. Many people note that government-grown cannabis is often weaker and less potent than marijuana available in legal markets.
The other issue for research is funding. Most scientific research is made possible by government grants. But the federal government has been incredibly unwilling to give grants out for cannabis research. So even if researchers want to study marijuana, they may not have an avenue to do so.
But Massachusetts is one of the biggest states in America when it comes to academics and research. If there's any state that can figure out how to begin legitimate marijuana research, it's this one.