By Derrick Stanley
Two of Congress's lawmakers with opposing views on marijuana are teaming up with others to introduce an overhaul of federal marijuana policy that would make it much easier for scientists to conduct research into medical marijuana.
One of them, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), is Congress's most vocal opponent of marijuana. He's remembered for single-handedly leading a provision that blocked marijuana shops in the District of Columbia in 2014.
Harris is working with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Or.), who Rolling Stone recently called Congress's "top legal pot advocate", to introduce the overhaul this week.
Harris said in an interview that the bipartisan Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016 would "cut through the red tape" that presently makes it extremely difficult for researchers to obtain and use marijuana in clinical trials.
Currently, federal law only allows one facility in Mississippi to produce marijuana used for research. "Because of this monopoly, research-grade drugs that meet researchers’ specifications often take years to acquire, if they are produced at all," Brookings Institution researchers wrote last year.