Medical marijuana supporters are pleased that Congress approved a new process for researching the drug. But don’t expect a wave of experimentation soon.
If you want to research medical pot you need to have your proposal reviewed by the FDA, get a permit from the DEA, and obtain your pot from the NIDA.
That’s a lot of federal acronyms. But there’s no longer a fourth step, which was to have a "Public Health Service" review, essentially because it’s almost identical to the FDA review.
Still, people like Paul Stanford, who owns three dozen medical marijuana clinics across several states, said the change is unlikely to spark a wave of research.
"It makes it a little bit easier, but there are still a lot of other processes that need to be changed," he said.
He said the federal government needs to stop listing pot as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, was among 29 members of Congress who asked for the change last year. He hopes it will make pot easier for researchers to access.