US Government Will Allow More Universities to Grow Pot

The US Drug Enforcement Agency continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, however, perpetuating challenges for researchers.

Aug 11, 2016
Kerry Grens

PIXABAY, CHEIFYCThe US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has rebuffed a request by governors to downgrade marijuana from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 drug, which would have eased restrictions on researchers who study the plant. However, the agency is announcing its plans to allow for additional facilities to grow pot.

“It will create a supply of research-grade marijuana that is diverse, but more importantly, it will be competitive and you will have growers motivated to meet the demand of researchers,” John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times.

Up until now, marijuana growing was only permitted at the University of Mississippi. According to a policy statement on the Federal Register, “persons may become registered with DEA to grow marijuana not only to supply federally funded or other academic researchers, but also for strictly commercial endeavors funded by the private sector and aimed at drug product development. Likewise, under the new approach, should the state of scientific knowledge advance in the future such that a marijuana-derived drug is shown to be safe and effective for medical use, pharmaceutical firms will have a legal means of producing such drugs in the United States.”

Would-be growers will have to file applications with the DEA.

“This is a good day for science,” Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group that opposes legalization, told Reuters. “This shows that the federal government is flexible on legitimate research but is nowhere near wanting to legalize marijuana.”