On Tuesday July 24, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, (D-Hawaii) and Carlos Curbelo (R- Florida), along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a new bill to systematically track the impact of state cannabis legalization, reported the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
If enacted, the so-called Marijuana Data Collection Act would direct the US Department of Health and Human Services to partner with other federal and state government agencies to study “the effects of State legalized marijuana programs on the economy, public health, criminal justice and employment.”
With cannabis laws and regulations vastly different from state to state, data from each is not collated and organized on a national level, much to the detriment of most everyone in the industry, including consumers.
The legislation calls upon the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to collect and synthesize ongoing and relevant data on cannabis reform and implementation to be used to generate a formal report to Congress quantifying the impact of statewide legalization as it affects public health, safety, the economy and criminal justice, among other issues.
As gathering such information is a tricky task, the secretary of Health and Human Services is being asked to coordinate with the Departments of Justice and Labor as well as individual state governments.
“This report will ensure that federal discussions and policies specific to this issue are based upon the best and most reliable evidence available. The data collected and compiled by the National Academy of Sciences will help guide future marijuana legislation at federal, state, and local levels,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal in an emailed statement.
New reports with accurate data will provide cannabis advocates and lawmakers with information that will help them and others understand more about cannabis and how it can be beneficial to society, said Strekal.
“This is not a marijuana bill, it is an information bill. No member of Congress can intellectually justify opposition to this legislation. Our public policy needs to be based on sound data and science, not gut feelings or fear-mongering. Approving the Marijuana Data Collection Act would provide legislators with reliable and fact-based information to help them decide what direction is most beneficial to society when it comes to marijuana policy.”