The Biden Administration is pushing to make transportation and infrastructure one of its biggest goals. American infrastructure and roads have been deteriorating for years, but new technology can help rebuild the core parts of the nation. Both the Senate and the House are working on bills to tackle the infrastructure issue, and on Thursday, the latter passed their $700 billion bill. Entitled the “Invest in America Act,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) calls it a, “once-in-a-century opportunity to rebuild America’s infrastructure.” Tucked away in the bill is a provision that allows researchers to access marijuana from state-legal dispensaries in order to adequately investigate impaired driving.
The provision mandates that the Transportation Secretary would need to collaborate with the Justice Department and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to produce a public report within two years of the bill’s enactment that provides recommendations on how scientists can access retail-level marijuana in non-legal states to study impaired driving.
This report must help with, “establishing a national clearinghouse to collect and distribute samples and strains of marijuana for scientific research.” Dispensaries from legal states can be one source for clearinghouses.
Two years after the bill’s enactment, the report must return an analysis of, “statutory and regulatory barriers to the conduct of scientific research and the establishment of a national clearinghouse for purposes of facilitating research on marijuana-impaired driving.”
The bill also includes a separate section that requires cannabis legal states to consider methods of educating residents about driving while high, and discouraging impaired driving from cannabis.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D), sponsored the bill and wants states that, “have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana” and are establishing highway safety programs to “consider programs in addition to the programs…to educate drivers on the risks associated with marijuana-impaired driving and to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from individuals driving motor vehicles while impaired by marijuana.”
The Senate’s version of the bill has much of the same language regarding a clearinghouse for researchers. As the House’s bill heads over to the Senate, we shall see what amendments will be completed before the finals bill hits President Biden’s table.