After multiple years of delay, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has released a rule proposal that would finally see the agency license additional growers of research-grade cannabis. For over 50 years, the University of Mississippi has been the sole institution with federal approval to grow cannabis plants.
Under DEA’s latest rule proposal, which was first reported by Marijuana Moment, the agency would maintain ownership over all research-grade cannabis — this is a departure from how the program worked previously, wherein the University of Mississippi did not have to forfeit ownership of its cannabis crops to the federal agency.
The proposed rule aims to create “additional registered growers and a larger, more diverse variety” of research-grade cannabis.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to support additional research into marijuana and its components, and we believe registering more growers will advance the scientific and medical research already being conducted. DEA is making progress to register additional marijuana growers for federally authorized research, and will continue to work with other relevant federal agencies to expedite the necessary next steps.” — DEA Acting Administrator Dhillon, in a press release
DEA first announced its plan to license additional federal cannabis growers in 2016 and many hopefuls quickly applied for a license; applicants and advocates have since accused the agency of foot-dragging and deliberately slowing progress on the issue. According to the press release, however, the proposed rule changes would finally “enable DEA to evaluate each of the 37 pending applications to grow marijuana for research under the applicable legal standard.”
The proposal will undergo a 60-day public comment period after it is officially published in the Federal Register on Monday.
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