DEA requests for medical marijuana research growers largely ignored after two years
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that the U.S. Justice Department is holding up the process based on the overall position of leadership, which is ultimately the Attorney General of the United states, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. They cite anonymous sources from the department who indicate the delays in approval of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) plans to empower new grow operations in legal cannabis states. The WSJ reports:
“The future of the initiative ultimately rests with the DEA’s parent agency, the Justice Department, and officials under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime critic of marijuana use, aren’t eager to advance the applications, these people said. Mr. Sessions has stated publicly he is open to research on the drug but has offered for no timeline for processing the applications.
“The applicants include a variety of entrepreneurs, as well as a university professor and a former Navy SEAL who wants to study how marijuana might help veterans suffering from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress.
“Republican and Democratic lawmakers have voiced frustration at the delays, saying Mr. Sessions has repeatedly avoided questions about the status of the applications. The inaction, they say, is stalling much-needed research into the potential health benefits of marijuana as society takes a more tolerant view of its use.”
The Sessions Justice Department is acting as a hindrance to the much needed progress on medical marijuana, including the 26 application by growers that are “on hold.” The current federally available supply is all grown under DEA supervision at a University of Mississippi cultivation site where a low grade product is produced and distributed. It goes to federally approved research programs and the few remaining federal cannabis patients who have been receiving tins with over 300 cigarette sized joints since the 1980’s. The cannabis is horrible and has a THC content in the 5 to 6% range, at best. The need for decent cannabis is real and now the Dept. of Justice is standing in the way of progress.
Image by DonkeyHotey from Flickr here.
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