Justice Department Taking Steps to Expand Cannabis Research
The Justice Department announced it will move forward to expand the number of marijuana growers for federally authorized cannabis research.
The long-awaited move comes after researchers filed court papers asking a judge to compel the Drug Enforcement Administration to process the applications to grow research cannabis. The DEA began accepting applications to grow the crop for federally approved research about three years ago, bu the agency has not acted on the applications.
Facing a deadline to respond a court filing, the DEA signaled Monday it will process 33 applications with the goal of helping scientists develop “safe and effective drug products.”
In June, applicant Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to order the DEA to process the applications. The court told the DEA to respond by Wednesday.
For years, the University of Mississippi has been the only entity federally licensed to produce marijuana for research. Researchers have complained in recent years that the cannabis produced there is not like the cannabis sold in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal.
“This is why we filed this lawsuit: to get this program moving after three years of stagnancy,” said Matthew Zorn, an attorney who represents the Scottsdale Research Institute.
The move announced Monday would give researchers a wide variety of cannabis to study.