DEA implements new rule for cannabis research cultivation

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The federal agency is finally making headway in allowing more cannabis for research programs

After months of waiting for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to answer all the applications to become an authorized cannabis grower for official testing, an update was made last Friday. For years, there has only been one approved facility to cultivate cannabis that can be used for testing, and this has produced several issues along the way. For instance, the quality of the cannabis was more like hemp than the actual product found in the market, or there wasn’t enough product to satisfy demands. Following three years of silence and occasional unclear updates since the DEA started received applications, the agency made a significant move that can actually allow more growers.

It was not a light change in the rules. DEA has declared that it will have sole ownership over any marijuana cultivated for research purposes, including any cannabis store in the cultivation facilities. These terms are far different from the deal it has with the Mississippi facility that has a contract to grow cannabis through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and without the DEA having any ownership over its products.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to support additional research into marijuana and its components, and we believe registering more growers will advance the scientific and medical research already being conducted,” Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a press release. “DEA is making progress to register additional marijuana growers for federally authorized research and will continue to work with other relevant federal agencies to expedite the necessary next steps.”

The proposal will be officially in the Federal Register today. As of now, and for the next 60 days, the proposal will be open for individuals to provide feedback. Ever since the DEA started accepting applications, a total of 37 institutions are awaiting resolution on their applications. The agency has acted so slowly that even lawsuits were filed against the DEA for deliberately avoiding giving a resolution.