Currently, there is only one facility, located in Mississippi, authorized to cultivate the plant via a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced last week that it will be making moves to expand its cannabis research.
The federal agency, which currently categorizes cannabis as a Schedule I drug alongside MDMA and heroin, has proposed changes to current legislation that would allow it to approve and collect a larger number of cannabis cultivators in research studies.
The agency so far has been the sole proprietor of any and all cannabis grown for research purposes under the proposed rules. Currently, there is only one facility, located in Mississippi, authorized to cultivate the plant via a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). But the federal agency does not retain ownership over the cannabis it produces.
“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,” DEA 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.”
A public comment period with a duration of 60 days is now open for individuals to weigh in on the proposed changes and is set to be published on the Federal Register sometime today.
The proposal comes three years after the DEA initially announced similar changes in 2016, during which it received 37 applications. Last summer, however, it announced that it would delay the move, saying that “Before making decisions on these pending applications, DEA intends to propose new regulations that will govern the marijuana growers program for scientific and medical research.”
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Written by Emma Spears