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Thirty Members of Congress Call on Secretary of Health and Human Services to Remove Roadblock to Marijuana Research

Bipartisan letter urges HHS Secretary Burwell to eliminate ‘unnecessary additional review process’ that often prevents scientists from obtaining marijuana for medical research

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a letter sent Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 30 members of Congress called on Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to make the process for obtaining marijuana for medical research less burdensome.
According to a press release issued by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3):
Currently, scientists not funded by the NIH seeking to conduct research on marijuana are subject not only to the review process that applies to other Schedule I substances, but to an additional review process by the Department of Health and Human Services that allows for access to the only source of marijuana grown in the United States that can be legally used for research. This additional review adds a layer of uncertainty for researchers and can lead to delays or even denial.
Statement from Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project:
“There’s no reason the federal government should make it harder for scientists to study marijuana than it is to study any other drug, yet that’s exactly what it is doing. The Public Health Service review protocol applies to marijuana, but not to any other drug.
“Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, but our federal government treats it like it’s plutonium. With marijuana prohibition coming to an end, our government should be promoting this type of research, not obstructing it.”