GOP Congressman Eyes Marijuana Rescheduling To Unlock Cannabis Research For Science-Based Policy

U.S. Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN) says marijuana should be rescheduled under federal law to free up research that could inform the development of a regulatory framework for cannabis products.

While he opposes legalization, Bucshon acknowledges the need to address THC products nationally and recognizes the limited research on its potential health effects is due to its Schedule I classification.

“I mean, we’ve known the tobacco situation for decades now, so we have to maybe address that first,” said Bucshon who is a heart surgeon. “Some people are saying, well, maybe we should put THC as a Schedule I-A or move it to Schedule II or something so that we can do research and get more information before that will inform us and what regulatory framework maybe that we need to have at the national level for those products.”

Speaking about marijuana policy during a discussion on tobacco and public health at an  American Enterprise Institute (AEI) event, Bucshon examined the idea of taking a “harm reduction” approach to marijuana by establishing regulations similar to tobacco. The congressman noted a key difference between the products: cannabis is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which has impeded research into its potential health effects, reported Marijuana Moment’s Kyle Jaeger.

Despite Bucshon’s claim about a research deficit, a recent analysis done by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) found that researchers have published more than 32,000 scientific papers on marijuana over the past 10 years—including over 4,000 in 2023 alone.

Bipartisanship Increasing Around Cannabis Research

Bipartisan agreement is growing around lifting research barriers, with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advising the DEA to reschedule marijuana and mandating a report on its therapeutic potential and research obstacles. In early December, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) took a significant step toward advancing cannabis research by establishing a Resource Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

While Bucshon’s opposition to legalization remains, his support for rescheduling and research reflects a growing recognition of the need for a federal framework to address THC products and inform potential regulations.

Photo: House of Reps


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