House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has agreed to co-sponsor a Florida Republican’s bipartisan bill to make medical marijuana research easier, his office confirmed on Wednesday.
That backing by the conservative Virginia Republican potentially bolsters the bill’s chances in the House. Representative Matt Gaetz started circulating a handout Tuesday night explaining his Medical Cannabis Research Act, with Goodlatte listed as a co-sponsor.
“I can confirm that the chairman will co-sponsor,” said Kathryn Rexrode, a spokesman for Goodlatte, who is not running for re-election, in an email.
A spokesman for Gaetz said the measure was to be introduced on Wednesday or Thursday, with its sponsors set to hold a news conference on Thursday.
The legislation is being introduced as the legalization of marijuana has gained broader acceptance in the U.S. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump endorsed allowing states decide how to regulate the drug, aiding the marijuana industry.
A few days before that, another prominent Republican, former House Speaker John Boehner, joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a company that cultivates, processes and dispenses cannabis in 11 states.