DEA Wants More Cannabis Grown for Research in 2020
The US federal government has proposed to increase the amount of cannabis allowed to be grown for research purposes.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) aims to raise its ‘cannabis cap’ from 2,450 kilograms (5,401 pounds) in 2019 to 3,200 kilograms in 2020, which would almost triple the capacity allowed in 2018.
The administration claims that the extended limit will help meet the need of the growing numbers of cannabis studies in the US.
“The aggregate production quota set by DEA each calendar year ensures that patients have the medicines they need while also reducing excess production of controlled prescription drugs that can be diverted and misused,” said acting administrator Uttam Dhillon in a press statement.
“DEA takes seriously its obligations to both protect the public from illicit drug trafficking and ensure adequate supplies to meet the legitimate needs of patients and researchers for these substances.”
The announcement follows both the DEA’s decision last month to review its list of cannabis grower applications.
Yet, as no new licensed growers have been announced, it remains unclear if this extra cannabis will be grown anywhere other than the University of Mississippi, which is the only facility authorized by the DEA to provide cannabis material to scientific researchers. Some researchers have criticized the quality of the university’s cannabis, claiming the material is of poor quality and tainted by impurities.
Writing in its lawsuit to the DEA last month, researchers at the Scottsdale Research Institute claimed that the “SRI used [cannabis from the University of Mississippi] for its Phase II trials. It arrived in powdered form, tainted with extraneous material like sticks and seeds, and many samples were moldy.”
“Whatever reasons the government may have for sanctioning this cannabis and no other, considerations of quality are not among them. It is not suited for any clinical trials, let alone the ones SRI is doing. Simply put, this cannabis is sub-par.”
The DEA has opened a period for public consultation on the proposed cannabis production amounts through October 10.