medical marijuana

Two Florida congressmen–Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democrat U.S. Rep. Darren Soto–brought out the “Medical Cannabis Research Act” on Wednesday.

Gaetz introduced the proposal and his office weighed in on what it does.

“The bipartisan legislation unlocks the potential to research the cures offered by medical cannabis, which could prove beneficial to veterans, the chronically ill, and the elderly. The legislation does not change the legal status of cannabis, and does not interfere with federal, state, or local cannabis laws,” Gaetz’s office noted. “Currently, cannabis research is stymied by laws that unfairly prevent many of America’s great research institutions from studying cannabis, despite its promise as a treatment for nausea, epilepsy, muscular sclerosis, and a host of other conditions. Cannabis has the potential to mitigate opioid abuse and addiction, and early studies indicate that it may even help veterans who suffer from PTSD. By giving research institutions ‘safe harbor’ — keeping them safe from legal retribution — the Medical Cannabis Research Act will greatly assist American researchers unlock cures that cannabis may provide. Just last month, the FDA approved a cannabis-derived medicine for certain types of epilepsy. Future research is likely to unlock other cures.”

Gaetz and Soto had championed a similar proposal last year and got it through the U.S. House Judiciary Committee which the Panhandle Republican sits on.

“For too long, Congress has faced a dilemma with cannabis-related legislation: we cannot reform cannabis law without researching its safety, its efficacy, and its medical uses — but we cannot perform this critical research without first reforming cannabis law. The Medical Cannabis Research Act helps break that logjam, allowing researchers to study medical cannabis without fear of legal jeopardy,” Gaetz said on Wednesday.

“This bipartisan legislation will make a tremendous difference to researchers nationwide, who may finally be able to develop cures for illnesses that affect many of America’s most vulnerable populations. I fully believe that this bill has a chance to pass this Congress and be signed into law by the president, who expressed his support for medical cannabis during his campaign. I thank my colleagues for their support, and look forward to passing sweeping cannabis reform legislation this Congress,” Gaetz added.


Kevin Derby can be reached at


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