Robert Baker

DEA Expanding Cannabis Research Programs

The DEA has announced an expansion of medical cannabis research options and a change in policy: hemp cultivators no longer need to register with the agency in light of the crop’s federal legalization.

Full story after the jump.

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced yesterday that is “moving forward to facilitate and expand scientific and medical research” into medical cannabis research. The agency indicated it is already providing notice to entities and individuals with pending research applications.

The DEA notes that over the last two years, the number of individuals registered with the agency to conduct cannabis research increased from 384 to 542 and that officials have more than doubled the production quota for cannabis during that span “based on increased usage projections for federally approved research projects.”

Acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a press release that the agency supports “additional research into marijuana and its components [and] believe registering more growers will result in researchers having access to a wider variety for study.”

Last week, Dr. Sue Sisley – a cannabis researcher from Arizona – announced she was suing the agency over its hurdles to cannabis research and said she was only able to procure one, low-quality, variety of cannabis from the federal government.

Attorney General William Barr said he was “pleased” with the agency’s announcement.

The DEA also announced that hemp cultivators no longer need to register with the agency, following last year’s removal of hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act in the Farm Bill.

The agency also said they will propose new regulations for cannabis research and plan to put those regulatory proposals up for public comments.

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