U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Kamala Harris (D-California), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to follow up about delays in choosing new cannabis producers for research expansions that were mandated by President Obama more than two years ago, the Wall Street Journal reports.
We write you to follow up on our letter, dated April 12, 2018, regarding the registration of marijuana manufacturers by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). We respectfully requested that you respond to our questions by May 15, 2018. More than four months have elapsed, and it is troubling that we have not yet received a written response.
Marijuana’s impacts are being felt every day across the country—with or without research. It is imperative that our nation’s brightest scientists have access to diverse types of federally-approved, research-grade marijuana to research both its adverse and therapeutic effects. Such research is the critical foundation of sound policymaking that puts public health and safety first.
— From the letter to AG Sessions, via hatch.senate.gov
At least 26 applications from entrepreneurs, university professors, and a former Navy SEAL await a decision from Sessions on how to move forward.
Sessions has said in the past he supports research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis but has dodged further comment about the two years of inaction on the selection process. Individual applications are technically decided by the head of the DEA, acting administrator Uttam Dhillon, however — according to lawmakers — Sessions‘ beliefs on the matter actually controls what happens.