A Congressional Committee has approved a marijuana bill this week that will require the Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to begin issuing more licenses to grow marijuana for research.

Despite a drug conviction restriction dispute, the U.S. House panel that oversees federal drug enforcement efforts still gave the bill the green light.

Prior to it being approved, there was controversy on a provision of the legislation that prevents anyone with a “conviction for a felony or drug-related misdemeanor” from being affiliated with cannabis research cultivation operations.

“There is no legitimate health or public safety justification for the inclusion of this language and we urge you to strike this unnecessary, punitive ban on individuals with previous drug law violations,”stated a letter that the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, #cut50, the Drug Policy Alliance and other groups had sent to the committee’s leaders.

“To help lower recidivism rates and improve public safety, we should be making it easier for people with records to obtain jobs, not more difficult,” it also read.

“While there are many varying opinions on the issue of marijuana, one thing we all can agree on is that we need qualified researchers to study the science to determine if there are any potential medicinal benefits to chemicals derived from cannabis,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said in a statement.

Rep. Matt Gaetz had tweeted, “We must ensure that an adequate and uninterrupted supply of research-grade cannabis is available to safe harbor provisions for research facilities. I am proud to lead the efforts to unlock cures through important scientific research.”

“What a shame if disagreement on such a small thing kept us from making University/Hospital/Hospice/VA/MedSchool #MedicalMarijuana research collaboration legal with the vibrant, innovative commercial cannabis industry,” he also wrote.

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