By Joan Eberhardt
The Obama Administration removed a barrier this week that could allow for more research into medical marijuana.
The Public Health Service (PHS) Review will no longer be required for approval to conduct research on medical cannabis. The Daily Chronic reported that PHS was added during the Clinton administration to ensure that potential research was as controlled as possible. All applications were required to go through the PHS, in addition to a similar process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Cannabis advocates have been demanding the PHS be removed, saying it is a redundant barrier that hampers research and makes marijuana more difficult to study than cocaine or heroin.
This could potentially be a signal that the Obama Administration is ready to take serious steps towards ending the War on Drugs. More research in the cannabis field could lead to more useful strains and a greater understanding of the plant itself.
There are still many hurdles preventing research. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Institute on Drug Abuse are the sole entities in charge of the supply of cannabis legally allowed to be used for research.
A Senate panel, chaired by Chuck Grassley (R-IA), will host a hearing titled “Cannabidiol: Barriers to Research and Potential Medical Benefits” today in Washington, D.C.
The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics hearing could be another sign that the Obama Administration is loosening its grip on cannabis as we enter the president’s last two years in office.
“The Obama Administration has actively supported scientific research on whether marijuana or its components can be safe and effective medicine. Eliminating the Public Health Service review should help facilitate additional research to advance our understanding of both the adverse effects and potential therapeutic uses for marijuana or its components.” Drug Czar Mario Moreno Zepeda told the Huffington Post.
- A poll found that 87 percent of Pennsylvania voters favored legalizing medical marijuana. That’s basically everyone. The finding were consistently overwhelmingly in favor regardless of gender, age or political affiliation.
- Illinois has only got 2,500 patients approved for medical cannabis use when the state’s pilot program goes live later this year. That “embarrassingly low” number has industry insiders worried for the future of the program in the state.
- Ohio legislators put together a bill that would squash a ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in that state. The ballot initiative has received flak because opponents say it would install a cartel into Ohio’s constitution.
- Colorado is the Wild West of the cannabis world and prices are dropping rapidly as a result.