A group of US Senators is calling on the federal government to loosen the red tape that's put a chokehold on cannabis research.
In a recent report attached to the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services for Fiscal Year 2019, the Senate Appropriations Committee used strong language to push for cannabis reform.
More specifically, the Committee wants to enable researchers to properly research cannabis. The classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substances Act makes it extremely difficult to study given the hoops that researchers must jump through to get access to the highly restricted substance. This means the effects and applications of cannabis are vastly under-studied, and cannot be truly understood until more research is done.
"The Committee is concerned that restrictions associated with Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act effectively limit the amount and type of research that can be conducted on certain Schedule 1 drugs, especially marijuana or its component chemicals and certain synthetic drugs," the report reads.
And that's a huge problem because while it is difficult for researchers to get their hands on cannabis, heroin and other Schedule I drugs, they aren't hard to come by on the street. So it's crucial for policymakers to understand the effects of those drugs, which they can't do unless researchers are allowed to do their jobs.
"At a time when we need as much information as possible about these drugs, we should be lowering regulatory and other barriers to conducting this research," the report added.
And while the report also expresses concern with the "the effects that the drug can have on brain development; addiction; the long-term health effects in both youth and older individuals" of cannabis, their stance on the need for research remains strong. The Committee is asking the National Institute on Drug Abuse to "provide a short report on the barriers to research" that cannabis faces.
Descheduling cannabis would be a major step forward for cannabis reform and would likely lead to a wealth of new discoveries about the drug.