WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill that will make it easier for researchers to study the health benefits of marijuana is set to become law after winning approval in the U.S. Senate this week.

The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, which was sponsored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, received overwhelming support in both chambers of Congress.

According to lawmakers, it will help streamline the process and reduce barriers that have stymied medical research into marijuana in the past.

Senator Brian Schatz speaks to media at the Hawaii Convention Center.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz won approval for two bills this week that are now set to become law. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

“The medical community agrees that we need more research to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits, but our federal laws today are standing in the way of us finding those answers,” Schatz said in a statement. “Our bill, which is now set to become law, will remove excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options.”

The bill is one of two pieces of legislation sponsored by Schatz to pass the Senate this week.

The other is the Safe Connections Act, which will make it easier for victims of domestic violence to break free from shared cellphone plans, which can be exploited by their abusers.

Schatz’s legislation was originally supposed to be included in Congress’ reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed earlier in the year, but faced initial pushback from the wireless industry.


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