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Titus, Neguse Introduce Legislation Promoting Academic Research of Cannabis

Washington, DC – This week Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) and Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) introduced the Higher Education Marijuana Research Act of 2023, legislation that would eliminate obstacles to the academic research of cannabis, protect universities and researchers who study it, and promote the responsible study of marijuana.

While 38 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use and 23 states including Nevada and Colorado have legalized it for recreational use, myriad federal rules and regulations create barriers to academic research.

A member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Congresswoman Titus voted for the Medical Marijuana Research Act last session. She also secured language in last year’s appropriations package that prohibits the Department of Justice from preventing any states with legal marijuana programs from their implementation. This Congress she is a cosponsor of the SAFE Banking Act to allow legal cannabis shops in Nevada and across the country access to banking like other small businesses.

“The legal, responsible use of cannabis has been a major economic driver in Nevada and across the country and deserves further research,” said Rep. Titus. “Most of that research will come from academia, where right now too many universities and researchers do not have robust protections for even possessing what they are researching. As a former professor, I’m introducing this commonsense legislation to support their work and help us all learn more about the effects and potential uses of cannabis.”

"We are grateful to Rep. Titus for introducing this legislation at a time when state cannabis laws are rapidly changing. Despite cannabis being one of the most heavily studied substances, there continue to be significant federal barriers to conducting additional research, particularly involving clinical trials and products that are available in regulated state-legal markets. This bill will facilitate trusted university partners to engage in the kinds of research that will best equip state and federal lawmakers and regulators to develop effective cannabis policies based on public health and safety, will allow consumers to make more informed choices, and will help train the next generation of cannabis researchers,” said Morgan Fox, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Political Director.

“We know very little about cannabis because of regulatory red tape at the federal level that ties scientists’ hands, even for those in states where cannabis is legal for adult use. The Higher Education Marijuana Research Act of 2023 is a game changer. The passage of this bill will remove roadblocks and encourage the development of a cannabis research workforce that will benefit medicine and public health,” said Dr. Jennifer Pearson, Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board Health Advisory Committee Chair and Associate Professor, University of Nevada Reno School of Public Health.