All but six states in the U.S. allow Cannabis, to greater or lesser degrees, for medical or non-medical use. Piece-by-piece implementation, unsurprisingly, resulted in a patchwork of varied approaches. But under a bill currently in Congress, the government would collect data from states where marijuana is already legal in order to find out what works and what doesn’t.
This study would evaluate the impacts and effects of state-legalized medicinal and non-medicinal Cannabis programs. Areas examined would include state economies, public health, criminal justice, and employment.
A group of legislators introduced the bipartisan Marijuana Data Collection Act on April 29. The effort is led in the Senate by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY). House leaders are U.S. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Don Young (R-AK), reports NORML.
This legislation would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and relevant state health agencies to enter a ten-year arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences. Together they would conduct, and update, a study on the effects of legalized state marijuana programs biennially.
For transparency, the data collected would be publicly available. The study would also generate a report to Congress as well as a series of best practices recommendations.
NORML, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), and the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) support the Act.
“To be clear, this is not a marijuana reform bill, it is an data bill about what is happening around the country,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal.
Currently, 36 states authorize the medical use of cannabis; additionally, 17 states have legalized the herb for adults.