A former senior DEA official said Sessions was “adamantly opposed” to allowing researchers to expand the number of growers in the country. This decision effectively halted plans to allow more growers your domain name in 2017, saying allowing too many producers would put the country at risk of violating a 1961 international treaty. The DEA’s move will likely continue to limit research and development on cannabis.
While the decision is disappointing to some marijuana reformers, it does highlight the increasing political complexity around marijuana policy in the United States. It shows that the cannabis industry is increasingly complicated and polarized – despite the widespread use of marijuana as a recreational drug. In addition, Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, has advocated for more relaxed marijuana research restrictions. Currently, the only federally-licensed grower of marijuana is the University of Mississippi. But he says that more research grows could result in higher quality marijuana, as well as different strains.
The DEA also acknowledged that the marijuana industry has long struggled with the lack of research funding. With a new rule, the agency hopes to open up research on the drug. Under the Single Convention, the DEA is required to conduct research on controlled substances in a way that protects public health and safety. However, it cannot assign its functions to another agency or private contractor. The new rule will allow the DEA to do these jobs more effectively.
The DEA’s decision enables researchers to continue conducting studies on marihuana and other marijuana-related drugs. While the DEA has ruled that a researcher cannot be exempt from registration under the CSA, it does not rule out granting them a state-sanctioned license to grow marihuana. Marijuana research remains restricted due to the lack of such authorization.
The new DEA memo is the latest twist in a long-running legal battle involving cannabis. It blocked the DEA from approving cultivators and prompted questions about an existing research arrangement with the University of Mississippi. While Sisley has fought for decades to research the benefits of marijuana, he never imagined the battles with universities and the complicated legal maze scientists will face in studying the drug.
While the decision of the DEA is a blow to the reform community, it is a political opportunity for the next president. While many marijuana reform advocates would have liked to see marijuana rescheduled when the next administration auto northern lights came into office, the DEA’s decision is an unintended consequence of the current policy. Marijuana policy is schizophrenic and sclerotic. Changes to address the problems created by the contradictory policy are essential.
The DEA’s decision could lead to the federal government recognizing the medical value of marijuana. This could open the door to more research, allowing the industry to export cannabis products across state lines, and easing banking restrictions. It could also provide protections to the working population in marijuana-related industries. The National Conference of State Legislators filed a resolution last week urging Congress to remove marijuana from the Schedule I classification and allow scientists to conduct their studies on the drug.
The DEA’s new decision also means that researchers can’t accept gifts or research funding from the cannabis industry. This could be considered money laundering or aiding criminal activity. Researchers cannot accept research funding from the cannabis industry unless they can prove the potential medical benefit of marijuana. Further, the DEA’s decision is unlikely to change federal laws regarding marijuana. However, it is a significant step forward in the field of marijuana research.
The DEA’s decision will limit the amount of research on marijuana available to consumers. As of now, only three marijuana research centers are federally approved. The DEA will inevitably continue to restrict the availability of the drug. As long as the DEA keeps the federal government from allowing more grow sites, the research and development of cannabis will remain restricted. And that’s a huge step in the right direction. The US needs to take this opportunity to prove the medical value of marijuana, which is why cannabis research is crucial.
While the DEA acknowledges that the rule is consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), it is not entirely clear how the DEA is addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 public health emergency. For example, it has yet to define high quality cannabis. The DEA has not outlined the exact chemical composition of high-quality cannabis, and it has yet to determine the standard for research and development. A potential grower must register with the DEA before they can supply marijuana for research. However, growers can only grow what is authorized in the research protocol.