House lawmakers push for medical marijuana research reform

House lawmakers push for medical marijuana research reform
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A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Thursday advocated for the passage of a medical marijuana research bill. 

The legislation, spearheaded by Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHouse approves Democrat-backed bill ending mandatory arbitration Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing State probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws MORE (R-Fla.), would require the attorney general to assess whether there's an adequate supply of research-grade cannabis annually for researchers and institutions to look into its medicinal uses. 

Gaetz said 25 members have signed on to the legislation, which has received the support of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.).

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"One of the reasons I'm so enthusiastic is that we really do have a broad base of support for this bill from Republicans and Democrats, from moderates, conservatives, liberals, libertarians," Gaetz said.

"And I'm hopeful that by finding the area with the common ground, the theory that we ought to create protections for research, that we'll be able to make some progress on this very important issue."

Proponents of the bill argue medical marijuana could be beneficial for veterans, elderly people and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

"We know cannabis is good medicinally for a lot of things: epilepsy, seizures, cancer, appetite. And you talk [to] our veterans; they prefer cannabis to opioids," Rep. Lou CorreaJose (Lou) Luis CorreaBlue Dog Democrats urge action on election security House Democrats unveil bill to ensure citizenship for children of service members Members to have little time to question Mueller MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters, adding that countries including Israel and Canada have embraced using cannabis for medical purposes. 

Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloPelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House The Hill's Morning Report - Congress returns: What to expect Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback MORE (R-Fla.) said he believes it's important that the government doesn't stand in the way of studies looking into marijuana's potential benefits.

"We do need to learn more. We need more research," he said. "What we don't need is a federal government-led witch hunt against those who are following state laws, those who want to conduct research and those who want to inform the public."

Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeMarijuana industry donations to lawmakers surge in 2019: analysis Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Overnight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe MORE (D-Calif.) said she thinks it's an area where both sides can come together to help advocate for the advancement of medicine.

"We may not agree on every aspect of cannabis legislation, but at the very least we should be able to conduct research and our veterans should be allowed to benefit from these trials that are also a part of this legislation," she said.