Cannabis Growers Make First Harvests for Research Purposes, Ending Federal Monopoly

Groff North America Hemplex and BRC, two cannabis cultivation firms, have harvested federally sanctioned cannabis for research purposes, ending a 50-year monopoly by the University of Mississippi.


Full story after the jump.

Two companies announced they have harvested cannabis for research purposes in the U.S., ending a 50-year federal monopoly of the practice, Marijuana Moment reports. Previously, cannabis was only allowed to be grown for research purposes at the University of Mississippi and the available product has long been decried for its low quality and minimal research potential.

Groff North America Hemplex and BRC indicated that they are now growing and harvesting cannabis plants after having received the proper registrations from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). BRC completed their first harvest in November and Groff just completed their first harvest last week, according to the report.

“All of these steps are incremental steps that lead to our production at BRC, and certainly all of our peers in the federally legal cannabis industry,” George Hodgin, CEO of BRC, said in the report.

“These steps are taking place because of the loud drumbeat of the advocates of the cannabis community over the past decades. The DEA granted us everything we asked for.” — Hodgin, via Marijuana Moment

Frank Haughton, CEO of Brighterside Vertical Farms, the firm contracted to grow cannabis for Groff, said they wanted to show the DEA that “this was something that is possible” and growing cannabis for research is like “any other drug ingredient.”

Advocates and regulators have long complained about the lack of cannabis available for research purposes. In addition to the increased cannabis production, researchers will also have access to cannabis through state-legal markets, a development made possible by President Joe Biden’s (D) recent infrastructure bill.

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow told Marijuana Moment that the increased access would be a “valuable” tool in determining any potential risks cannabis may pose to consumers.

Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly referenced Brighterside Vertical Farms as a contractor for BRC. The article has been updated to reflect that Brighterside was contracted by Groff, another firm approved by the DEA to grow cannabis for research.

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