republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced new legislation that would make it easier for scientists to research Schedule I drugs like marijuana and psilocybin. Companion bills filed by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) largely reflect a plan that was recently released by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), with the backing of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Titled the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of (HALT) Fentanyl Act, the main intent of the identical companion measures is to curb trafficking of the powerful opioid. While reform advocates have expressed concern about provisions that would permanently place fentanyl analogues in the strictest federal drug category, the legislation also contains provisions to streamline the research process for all Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. That strict category currently includes cannabis as well as psychedelics like LSD, mescaline and MDMA. The bills would facilitate studies in part by aligning the research requirements for Schedule I drugs with those of the less-restricted Schedule II. Scientists and lawmakers have consistently pointed out that the existing rules for studying Schedule I controlled substances are excessively burdensome, limiting vital research. Rather than having each scientist involved in a Schedule I drug study obtain DEA registration, the GOP lawmakers and White House want to make it so multiple researchers at a given institution would be allowed to participate under a single registration. They also proposed a policy change where a research institute with studies taking place over multiple locations would only require one overall registration instead of needing to have a specific one for each site.

Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 12/21/2021 11:02:00

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