Everyone Needs a Little DANK: Developing and Nationalizing Key Cannabis Research Act

dank

You have to give it to them for their sense of humor. Introduced by Scott Peters (D-CA) and Dave Joyce (R-OH), the cheekily named bipartisan bill filed Wednesday aims to create a structured federal marijuana agenda, as well as to carve out a designation for universities to create in-depth studies around cannabis through federal grant funding. 

The Developing and Nationalizing Key Cannabis Research Act, yes, that’s right, the DANK Bill, would require the National Institutes on Health (NIH) to collaborate with a variety of other agencies, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in order to strategize and develop a national cannabis research agenda that would focus on six key research components in the hopes of setting a medical precedent to decriminalize and eventually federally legalize marijuana. Highest on the priority list for the DANK Bill would be studies into the safety of cannabis in treatment for medical conditions that carry acute and often debilitating side effects such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, while also examining the kinds of impacts cannabis can have on patients who suffer from chemo-related nausea, lack of appetite, and pain. Another component would be looking at cannabis as a replacement for opiods. 

The introduction of the bill came in tandem with the House of Representatives fast-tracking the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, which aims to facilitate cannabis-specific research and development. The act had strong bipartisan support, receiving 216 votes on the Democratic side and 109 votes on the Republican side, which advanced the bill to the Senate floor. 

Among other things, the act provides a 60-day timeline to the office of the US Attorney General, and in that 60 days, the office would have to approve or deny applications submitted from scientists wishing to engage in human-use cannabis clinical trials. The AG would have final approval, as the applications would have already gone through a vetting process by both the National Institution of Health and the Secretary of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services. 

With DANK hitting the ground running, and the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act expected to make its way to the President’s office fairly swiftly after reaching the Senate, the amount of research on cannabis could see a marked increase. There have been an estimated 30000 peer-review studies and papers referencing cannabis as a core part of the research since 2010, compared to only 3000 papers or studies filed between 1990 and 2000. 

For the record, we don’t know if they will abbreviate this bill as the DANK act, but they really, really are missing out on an opportunity if they don’t.

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Chicana journalist, editor, educator, and organizer in Sacramento whose sole focus is to shed light on stories on our most impacted and marginalized communities, but even more importantly, for those stories to humanize those normally left out. She is an Ida B Wells Investigative Journalism Fellow 2022 Finalist, a member of the Parenting Journalists Society, and has bylines in The Courier, The Sacramento Bee, The Americano, Submerge Magazine among others.

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