Jonathan Udell, co-chair of Rose Law Group cannabis department, talks to Tucson Weekly about cannabis research bills

By David Abott | Tucson Weekly

As two bills supporting cannabis studies stall in Congress, regulatory hurdles and funding deficiencies continue to delay clinical trials of the plant for all but the most established researchers in the U.S.

Earlier this year, the House approved the Medical Marijuana Research Act (H.R. 5657) and the Senate passed the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act (S. 253), but both are now languishing in the heat of the summer.

S. 253, sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), is intended to “ensure that research on CBD and other potentially beneficial marijuana-derived substances is based on sound science while simultaneously reducing the regulatory barriers associated with conducting research on marijuana,” according to a February press release from Feinstein’s office.

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Arizona NORML Director of Politics Jon Udell says the biggest selling point from NORML’s perspective is that if passed, the bill would facilitate clinical research by establishing a process where scientists and researchers can use commercial weed rather than the pot that’s compared to “lawnmower clippings” available through the University of Mississippi.

“H.R. 5657 specifically allows scientists to access flower and other products that are manufactured in accordance with the state-approved market,” Udell said. “That’s what it should be because then you have a more realistic representation of cannabis that is used by consumers and patients.”

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