Cornyn, Feinstein Release Report on Marijuana Usage and Public Health


In: All News   Posted 03/03/2021
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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), co-Chairman, issued the following statements after the caucus released their report titled, “Cannabis Policy: Public Health and Safety Issues and Recommendations,” which contains a number of findings and recommendations related to cannabis and cannabis policy:

"Despite growing acceptance and accessibility of this drug and its derivatives, there is still much we don’t know about the effects of marijuana usage," said Sen. Cornyn. "It’s critical for policymakers to understand the public safety implications of increased marijuana use before diving in to the complex and difficult job of changing federal policy, and it is my hope that this report will help inform these important policy decisions in the future."

“Current barriers to research prevent us from understanding the full effects marijuana has on people,”
said Sen. Feinstein. “That’s why I introduced the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act last month with Senators Grassley, Schatz and others, to help remove those barriers and allow more research to be conducted. The Senate Drug Caucus report that was made public today recommends passage of our legislation, an important step to ensure that Congress is well-informed about this policy area. I’m hopeful this report will speed final passage of this bill.”

Findings:

1)     Given the need to better understand the public health impacts associated with cannabis use and its potential to treat serious medical conditions, the Caucus strongly supports efforts to reduce research barriers, including the passage of S. 253, the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act

2)     The Caucus urges the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to intensify its research on the short-and long-term impacts associated with high potency cannabis and to make a recommendation, jointly with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as to whether states should cap the potency of products that may be sold. 

3)     Public health officials at the federal, state, and local levels should amplify the immediate past Surgeon General’s warning through the implementation of effective prevention and awareness programs to ensure that adolescents and pregnant women are aware of cannabis’ potential impacts on the developing brain and fetus.

4)     The Caucus urges the FDA, in conjunction with any other relevant federal departments and agencies, to continue exercising its enforcement authorities with respect to cannabis and its derivatives, including CBD. The FDA, along with the FTC, should also continue working to ensure consumers know which businesses are selling false goods, especially those products with expressed therapeutic efficacy.

The Caucus strongly urges the federal government to accelerate research regarding the detection of cannabis impaired driving, including the development of standardized field testing. Moreover, given their success, but limited reach, the Caucus urges NHTSA to increase funding for the DRE and ARIDE programs so that the maximum number of law enforcement and other personnel can be trained on how best to detect cannabis impaired driving. The Caucus further urges Congress to increase federal funding for state forensic and toxicology labs to ensure that testing for cannabis impaired driving is expanded and required, so that available data more accurately reflects the scope of the problem, and to expand innovative and effective programs, such as DUI/DWI courts.