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Cory Gardner wants less red tape around medical marijuana research

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U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, has joined a bipartisan effort to ease restrictions on medical marijuana research — a big deal for a man who’s not exactly the first to come to mind when you think about pro-pot politicians.

He’s now a co-sponsor of the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act (MEDS Act), which would streamline the process for approving marijuana-related research and raise production quotas for federally sanctioned growers who supply marijuana for the development of cannabis-derived drugs.

When Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced the bill, he put out a pun-laden statement that included phrases such as “It’s high time” and “To be blunt.” Marijuana advocates didn’t appreciate the humor, since drug policy reform, especially around medical and scientific research, is no laughing matter to patients threatened by the new administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in particular, is eager to revive the War on Drugs and has put the brakes on efforts to accommodate medical marijuana in federal law.

“Our medical community continues to find new ways medical marijuana can help patients but currently there are too many barriers that are holding back even further advancements and research,” Gardner said in a statement. “This legislation is simple. It will make it easier for our universities, hospitals, and scientists to look at new ways that medical marijuana can be used for treatment.”

The bill was referred to the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.

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