A police truck with the DEA insignia.

U.S. Drug Company Approved by DEA to Import Cannabis from Europe

A New Jersey-based drug company called Catalent has received approval from the DEA to begin importing marijuana extracts from Europe, intended to support drug makers in developing new cannabis products.

Catalent’s VP of Corporate Strategy, Cornell Stamoran, described the purpose of the new Missouri-based research facility to In-Pharma: “These sites collectively support clinical trial storage and distribution for Investigational Medicinal Products undergoing clinical trials, as well as commercial dose from manufacturing.”

One of the company’s biggest customers is GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind Epidiolex, a cannabidiol medication used to treat rare forms of epilepsy. Epidiolex has undergone multiple clinical trials this year in the U.S. to test its effectiveness.

With the DEA on board to reschedule these cannabis extracts as pharmaceutical-grade, Catalent is poised to start producing commercial medicines in the US—in a way that medical marijuana dispensaries within the country have not yet been able to secure.

In the UK, GW Pharmaceuticals grows about 200,000 kilograms of marijuana per year in government-approved greenhouses. The cannabinoids are extracted to create products like Epidiolex, Sativex, and to ship to companies like Catalent for further research and development—leading to fears within the marijuana community that a big pharmaceutical takeover of medical cannabis is on the way.

Photo Credit: Brett Neilson

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