President Joe Biden officially signed the first piece of standalone federal cannabis reform Friday. The U.S. president signed a marijuana research bill into law that cleared the House in July and the Senate last month.
The act is aimed at providing federal support to facilitate research of cannabis and its potential health benefits. The law gives the U.S. attorney general 60 days to either approve a given application or request supplemental information from the marijuana research applicant.
The Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act also creates a more efficient pathway for researchers who request larger quantities of cannabis.
The act does three things:
- Provides a mechanism for the scientific study of cannabidiol and cannabis for medical purposes;
- Arranges a pathway for the FDA to approve the commercial production of drugs containing or derived from cannabis; and
- Protects doctors who may now discuss the harms and benefits of using cannabis and cannabis derivatives.
The president remains opposed to federal cannabis legalization, but he campaigned on a number of more modest marijuana reforms, including promoting research, decriminalization and rescheduling cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), according to the National Law Review.
Biden also issued a mass pardon for Americans who’ve committed federal marijuana possession cases in October and directed an administrative review into cannabis scheduling. The White House recently listed those actions among the “top accomplishments” for the president.