DEA releases full draft of new cannabis research rules

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The federal agency controlling marijuana for research purposes is finally moving forward with its duties

It seems to be that, finally, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is ready to get on board with cannabis research, and has presented its new full draft for cannabis research rules. The draft was titled Controls to Enhance the Cultivation of Marihuana for Research in the United States which if approved, it seeks to establish amendments in compliance with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and “facilitate research that could result in the development of marihuana-based medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” The use of “marihuana,” as opposed to the more accepted “marijuana,” shows that the agency is still behind the times.

The CSA indicates that any manufacturer of any controlled substance must get a permit from the DEA to cultivate, grow, or harvest marijuana with the intention to supply the plant to researchers or any permission granted. This new draft rule includes a categorization for the three types of potential manufacturers who can apply for registration. First, manufacturers who use their marihuana crop for internal research purposes. Second, manufacturers who grow marihuana for uses by other DEA registrants, including researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and finally, manufacturers who supply marihuana to support the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) program.

Under this proposed rule, all manufacturers will need to notify the DEA of its proposed harvest date, and the entire production for research must be taken to the DEA. There, the agency will have sole rights to import, export, wholesale trade and maintain stock of such cannabis. For the DEA, this is an important rule that will ensure there is a constant supply of marijuana for medical research, as well as having a wider diversity on strains to work with. On top of adding new suppliers, the agency is also going to expand the quota for marijuana production to 3,200 kilograms. All applicants will be evaluated based on their ability to “consistently produce and supply marihuana of high quality and defined chemical composition.”