Press Releases

Hickenlooper Amendment to Ease Barriers to Study Marijuana-Impaired Driving Passes Senate Committee

Jun 16, 2021

Amendment directs Department of Transportation to issue public recommendations to make cannabis research easier, paving the way for a national standard to prevent marijuana-impaired driving

Washington, D.C.- Today, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper’s amendment to pave the way for a national standard to prevent marijuana-impaired driving passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill requires the Department of Transportation to identify barriers and recommend ways to make it easier for researchers to access marijuana samples and study how marijuana impairs driving.

Marijuana research is currently severely restricted by federal regulations. As a result, even in states where marijuana has been legalized like Colorado, researchers have been unable to fully study the effects of driving while under the influence of cannabis and develop a uniform standard to judge when a person is impaired.

“Colorado led the way on marijuana legalization,” said Hickenlooper. “The federal government needs to catch up by lifting outdated restrictions on the scientific study of cannabis so we can prevent driving while high.”

Full text of the amendment is available HERE.

Specifically, the amendment would require the Department of Transportation to issue a public report with recommendations to:

  • Make it easier for scientific researchers studying impairment while driving under the influence of marijuana to access samples, including strains of marijuana and products containing marijuana that are sold on a retail basis.
  • Establish a national clearinghouse to collect and distribute samples and strains of marijuana that are sold in a state on a retail basis for scientific research.
  • Facilitate access through a clearinghouse to samples and strains of marijuana products for researchers in states that have not legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use

Hickenlooper’s amendment passed unanimously as part of the bipartisan Surface Transportation and Investment Act.


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