DEA Set to Increase Marijuana Grown for Continued Medical Research
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 08/28/2014 in Medical Marijuana Research
Location: University of Mississippi | Source: US News & World Report
Earlier this week the federal government re-affirmed that it will be increasing the production of federal cannabis for research purposes from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds. Initially the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the proposed increase May 5th and opened the topic for public comment. Only one person submitted a public response, thankfully it was a positive and supportive one.
“The DEA appreciates the support for this adjusted 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana which will provide for the estimated scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States,” reads a notice found in the Federal Register. Thankfully the DEA did take into consideration the lone comment it had received during a month long period and ultimately determined that the increase of cannabis production was appropriate.
The federal agency initially issued preapproval for the increase late in April, originally citing an urgent need for National Institute on Drug Abuse sanctioned research. The NIDH which is a part of the larger National Institutes of Health collaborates with the University of Mississippi for growing and researching the drug. This increase was deemed necessary because DEA officials initially miscalculated the amount of cannabis it would need to meet the initial annual quote which it calculated last December.
“Due to the manufacturing process unique to marijuana, including the length of time and conditions necessary to propagate and process the substance for distribution in 2014, it is necessary to adjust the initial, established 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana as soon as practicable,” the DEA said. “Accordingly, the administrator finds good cause to adjust the aggregate production quota for marijuana before accepting written comments from interested persons or holding a public hearing.”
A Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman directed questions regarding the increase to the NIDA. It still remains unclear how much cannabis has been produced so far this year. When speaking with the Washington Post in May, an NIDA representative told the paper that the agency was funding more than 100 grants for medical marijuana research, including 30 studies looking to examine the plants therapeutic values. NIDA critics say that the group disproportionately funds research looking into the negatives of marijuana use.
The DEA official who signed the notice Tuesday is Michele Leonhart, a critic for liberalizing medical marijuana laws. She spoke publically against President Obama when he said smoking marijuana is less harmful than consuming alcohol. “Marijuana is so popular these days with voters, lawmakers and researchers that even the DEA can’t continue to ignore it,” says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell.
Ironically throughout the Bush administrations reign in office the quote set by the DEA was substantially higher. From 2005-2009 the annual quota hovered at just under 10,000 pounds. “They still aren’t divulging why the quota is increasing and why its not increasing how much it has in the past,” said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. “Its shrouded in secrecy”