In the 115th Congress, there are more cannabis reform bills than ever before — dozens, as a matter of fact! This week, however, a brand new bill was introduced that actually does not involve the cannabis plant at all, but rather focuses on data collection and information that can be gathered from states that have chosen to legalize cannabis in some form.
Bill: The Marijuana Data Collection Act
Introduced by: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
Original Cosponsors: Reps. Don Young (R-AK), Darren Soto (D-FL), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Dina Titus (D-NV), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Tom Garrett (R-VA), Lou Correa (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Salud Carbajal (D-CA)
Endorsements: National Cannabis Industry Association, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Third Way
What It Does: This bill requires data collection and study with regard to the impact of state-regulated cannabis legalization on revenues and state allocations, the medicinal use of cannabis, (other) substance use, criminal justice, and employment. Specifically, this bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and relevant state agencies. The bill also directs the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to publish a biannual study on the health, safety, and economic effects of state legalized cannabis programs– whether they be medicinal or adult-use. The report will also outline best practices for state-led data collection, as well as recommendations to overcome any barriers preventing data collection and gaps in data.
What To Expect: Now that the bill has been introduced, NCIA will continue to gather cosponsors for the legislation, as well as advocate for a hearing. With August recess around the corner and then midterm elections in November (register here), timing will be of the essence.
NCIA’s government relations team was happy to work with Congresswoman Gabbard’s office on the Marijuana Data Collection Act’s language and roll-out. While many studies have looked individually at many of the effects that the Marijuana Data Collection Act seeks to, this is the first time a congressional bill has directed federal agencies to research, collect, and aggregate such data in one report. At a time when “fake news” and misinformation run rampant, we can’t think of a better thing than a bill solely directed at data.