A bipartisan group of lawmakers is coming together over marijuana reform.

The Marijuana Effective Drug Studies Act introduced Monday would not legalize recreational or medical marijuana, but it would make it “easier for researchers to study the medical effectiveness and safety of marijuana.”

{mosads}The effort is being spearheaded by Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), as well as Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.).

This is the first step toward legalization, marijuana advocates say.

Lawmakers who oppose marijuana legalization — including Harris, one of the biggest pot critics in Congress — often complain about a lack of research, but the federal government obstructs many efforts to study the drug.

The bill would remove those research barriers.

Eventually, the results of the marijuana research could be used to sway opponents of legalization, proponents say.

The federal government still prohibits all uses of marijuana, even though 25 states and Washington, D.C., have issued laws legalizing medical marijuana at the state level.

Tags Earl Blumenauer Orrin Hatch
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