13 legislators sign letter supporting more US marijuana research

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The bipartisan group wants to see more American-grown cannabis used in research projects

California Representative Jared Huffman has become the latest legislator to sign his name to a letter that wants to see more US-grown marijuana used in research, and less important from the northern neighbor. There are now 12 legislators in the bipartisan group that have signed the document, which is to be sent to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However, Huffman doesn’t expect the cannabis opponent to respond.

The letter was drafted after the Drug Enforcement Agency agreed to allow Canadian marijuana to be imported for research. It reads, in part, “Cannabis offers breakthrough possibilities to help alleviate suffering and disease, but more research is needed. Currently, there is only one legal domestic supplier of marijuana for research purposes.”

The letter supports the call for more US-grown marijuana in research by citing a couple of examples. A couple of years ago, AG Sessions said that he believed that “it would be healthy to have some more competition in the supply.” However, no progress has been made since then. Even President Trump’s “Buy American” executive order is an indication that the country needs to do more to source homegrown cannabis for studies.

“Despite the Department of Justice and DEA possessing over two dozen applications from qualified domestic manufacturers, however, DEA approved the importations of products from Canada,” asserts the letter.

Huffman believes that there is enough production in California to cover the research needs, as well as provide for legal medical and recreational distribution. He explained, “I am sure that here in California we would have anything they would possibly need for their research project,” he told the Times-Standard on Tuesday. “I don’t want to suggest this is some big business for our cannabis industry. I suspect it would be a small amount that would be involved. But it’s still galling that we would pass legal California sources and force the university to purchase from Canada.”

California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen calls the inconsistent messages from Capitol Hill as “almost comical.” He said, “There is no clear process for engaging in research and there is too much regulatory uncertainty,”

Allen knows, like many in the industry, that more research is required. He added, “Cannabis provides relief from a wide range of symptoms and promotes general well-being, by the many millions of Americans who regularly enjoy it, but more research is key to unlocking specific therapies and medicinal uses, as well as empowering us to use more responsibly and grow more sustainably. There are a lot of questions to answer as cannabis emerges into the mainstream. We strongly support more cannabis research and I expect many growers would be eager to participate if the opportunity were available.”

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