Obama has moved forward with an initiative that is one huge leap for America towards knowing more about the many benefits of medical marijuana. Effective immediately, the Obama administration has eliminated one crucial time-consuming step in the process to conduct research on the drug. Previously, the process to be allowed to do research on cannabis was as follows:
- Submit your study proposal to the Food and Drug Administration for a thorough review of its "scientific validity and ethical soundness."
- Submit your proposal to a separate Public Health Service (PHS) board, which performs pretty much the exact same review as the FDA.
- Get a marijuana permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
- Finally, obtain a quantity of medical marijuana via the Drug Supply Program run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which maintains a monopoly on medical marijuana grown for research in the U.S.
The second step out of four to be granted approval to research required individuals to submit a proposal to the Public Health Service (PHS) board following a similar Food and Drug Administration review. Obama, following through with his previously expressed beliefs that drug policy should be scientifically driven rather than ideologically driven, took the next step in normalizing marijuana.
Though it still remains a Schedule 1 drug as of publication, supporters are hopeful that this brings the US administration one step closer to realizing the many medical benefits that can be gained from marijuana.