A bill that would require the federal government to approve more facilities for the cultivation of cannabis for medical research is up for a vote in Congress this week. The bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 (H.R. 5634), would require the attorney general to ensure that an adequate and uninterrupted supply of research-grade cannabis is available.

The measure requires the attorney general to increase the number of approved cannabis suppliers to at least three and establishes “safe harbor” provisions for research facilities. The bill, which has bipartisan support from 40 cosponsors, is scheduled for a vote by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Currently, a University of Mississippi farm is the only facility authorized by the federal government to provide cannabis to researchers. However, cannabis is not always available for study and when it is, it is often of poor quality.

Bill Supports Cannabis Research

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, the bill’s sponsor, said that H.R. 5634 will further the research into the medical applications of cannabis.

“This bipartisan cannabis reform legislation will improve the quality of scientific research on cannabis, while protecting research institutions nationwide,” Gaetz said in a press release when he introduced the bill in April.

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