Feds want a new marijuana grow farm for research

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The government is going to contract a small business to help lead studies using thousands of kilograms of marijuana

The federal government needs some help. According to a notice published on the Federal Business Opportunities website last week, there is a call for a small business to assist in a major marijuana study involving “thousands of kilograms” of marijuana. The contract will be awarded to the entity that is capable of growing, storing, testing and shipping the supply, which will contain a range of potencies and concentrations.

The Department of Health and Human Services, through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), is currently accepting “capability statements” from businesses that have the space and technology to produce, analyze and ship cannabis, as well as cannabis products, that will be used for “research purposes.” Given that there is currently only one federally-accepted provider of marijuana for research – located at the University of Mississippi (UoM) – the need for additional sources is well-founded.

There have been a lot of concerns regarding the quality of the marijuana provided by the UoM farm. Many researchers have complained that it is not potent enough, nor is it chemically diverse enough, to produce viable results.

The company that ultimately wins the contract will have to have a large enough facility to be able to cultivate marijuana in both indoor and outdoor farms, as well as with varying degrees of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids. It will also have to produce cannabis extracts, such as oils, vaping fluids, and capsules.

In applying, companies must show that they meet several criteria. They have to demonstrate that they can receive the requisite licenses for controlled substances. They must also show that they can produce up to 2,000kg of marijuana, as well as store around 5,000kg of supply. All applications have to be submitted by December 10.