Maridose LLC, a Florida-based research firm, is in the final stages of obtaining a federal license from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to grow cannabis in Maine for medical research, the Portland Press Herald reports. Maridose is one of at least 37 companies that has applied to the agency to cultivate cannabis for federal research.
The DEA announced last year that it would approve applications to cultivate cannabis for research purposes. The decision ended the University of Mississippi’s half-century monopoly on growing research-grade cannabis for the feds. There are about 600 researchers throughout the U.S. who have federal approval to research cannabis but only one source to obtain research material.
Maridose is founded by Richard Shain, a former Procter & Gamble executive and product development specialist, and partners with Tikun Olam, Israel’s largest legal grower and supplier of medical cannabis. Shain told the Press Herald that the company plans to contract with researchers for specific strains and described the amount of cannabis they could grow as “minuscule.”
“We won’t be sitting there with 50 pounds of cannabis, waiting to sell it to the researchers. We’re not planning on growing mass generic strains. We will custom-grow the amount needed for the study.” – Shain to the Press Herald.
It’s so far unclear how many permits the DEA intends to issue. In the rule published in the Federal Register, the agency included cost estimates for three and 15 sites but did not commit to a number. Cultivators must have safeguards to prevent the diversion of cannabis to the illicit market, and the ability to provide an adequate and uninterrupted supply to researchers.
Tikun Olam won Israel’s first license to grow and administer medical cannabis in 2005 and U.S. researchers that use Maridose cannabis would be able to access clinical data collected from the 20,000 patients that have been treated with Tikun Olam’s cannabis
Between 2017 and 2020, the DEA increased its cannabis production quota from 472 kilograms to 3,200 kilograms. During that same period, the agency increased the number of registered researchers from 371 to 595.
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