It has been close to three years since the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) first announced that it would allow for more cultivators of research-grade cannabis in 2016. However, scientists in the U.S. have still been required to receive cannabis for research purposes from one individual farm located at the University of Mississippi. This lone University of Mississippi farm operates under a unique contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and it would be fine for scientists if it weren’t’ for one huge problem with the cannabis.
The cannabis cultivated at the NIDA farm is widely reported by many individuals and groups in the science community as a terrible representation of cannabis and has been said to be on par with “ditch weed”. Levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) within the NIDA grown cannabis do not come close to the levels that consumers and medical patients utilize in today’s world. Because the NIDA cannabis is non-comparable to consumer and medical-grade cannabis with its extremely low-quality, Dr. Sue Sisley sued the DEA in order to force the agency’s hand to follow through on its promise of research-grade cannabis cultivation expansion in 2016.
Dr. Sue Sisley, Head of the Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona, stated: “We simply want them to make good on this pledge to the public. They promised the U.S. citizenry that they would finally end this monopoly and license other growers for research. And they’ve not followed through on this pledge.”
The DEA’s response to the lawsuit came two days before the deadline set by the federal court required the agency to respond. Research-grade cannabis cultivation applications sent in by 33 institutions, including Dr. Sue Sisley's, were all announced as processed. The applications are all three years old and were filed shortly after the DEA first made it known to the public that it would allow for additional researchers to cultivate research-grade cannabis.
William P. Barr, U.S. Attorney General, stated: “I am pleased that DEA is moving forward with its review of applications for those who seek to grow marijuana legally to support research. The Department of Justice will continue to work with our colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services and across the Administration to improve research opportunities wherever we can.”
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