Senators want Attorney General Barr to allow more marijuana research

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Groups of senators step up to push for expanded marijuana cultivation

New U.S. Attorney General (AG) William Barr has a full plate, but he will figure out quickly how to organize himself. Two letters have been sent to the AG from different senators who want to see Barr move on authorizing more marijuana cultivation for research purposes.

One of the letters was signed by Senators Brian Schatz, Dianne Feinstein, Lisa Murkowski, Cory Gardner, Christopher Coons and Tim Kaine. It details how the fact that only one facility in the U.S. is approved for marijuana cultivation for research is seriously hindering advances. The senators also point out that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has already been authorized and has created a process to issue licenses, but has not acted accordingly.

The lawmakers stated, “Our nation’s need for meaningful federally sanctioned research is critical. Research and medical communities should have access to research-grade materials to answer questions around marijuana’s efficacy and potential impacts, both positive and adverse. Finalizing the review of applications for marijuana manufacturing will assist in doing just that.”

Booker sent a separate letter to the AG last week, in which he details some of the concerns previously stated by the DEA. Whether through a desire to avoid addressing the issue or due to ineptitude, the DEA had asserted that it couldn’t issue more licenses due to international treaty restrictions. Booker pointed out that Congress has already shown this to be false and that the DEA has acknowledged that it can issue licenses without any treaty concerns.

Barr has already stated that he supports expanding marijuana production for research. He made the assertion even prior to being sworn in as the new AG and put his position in writing during the nominee process. Now, it’s time to make good on his promise.