The policy change is long overdue, especially considering that it has been nearly three years since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced plans to allow the production of more research cannabis.
Meanwhile, the DEA has released a new notice that it is “moving forward to facilitate and expand scientific and medical research for marijuana in the United States.”
To that end, the DEA says it will move pending research applications along and will register additional qualified research cannabis growers in an effort to “increase the variety of marijuana available for these purposes.”
Yes, great news because up until now and for several decades the only entity legally licensed to cultivate research cannabis has been the University of Mississippi.
Researchers and scientists have complained vigorously that cannabis produced by Ole Miss has been found to be moldy, weak and not equivalent to that sold in medical and recreational states.
See you in court
The famed Phoenix-based Scottsdale Research Institute filed a lawsuit in July 2019 insisting that the US Attorney General and DEA be ordered to process the Institute’s application to grow its own research cannabis.
Dr. Sue Sisley, head the Scottsdale Research Institute, has said that low quality cannabis produced by Ole Miss is detrimental to their research and has generally stifled important clinical investigation into the medical benefits of the plant.
“Most scientists end up with this mishmash of different strains (including stem sticks, leaves, etc.) — all of it seems to get thrown into a grinder in an overzealous effort to standardize the study drug batches for clinical trials," Sisley said in a statement about the lawsuit.
NORML Weighs In
“In the interest of public health, the longstanding monopoly on the growing of cannabis for FDA-approved research ought to be abolished, and the DEA and the Justice Department should move expeditiously to follow through on their promise to facilitate scientific studies on marijuana and its effects,” wrote Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.