The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is pushing to increase cannabis production for research and reduce opioids
The Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated that the DEA action will assist with the epidemic of opioid overdoses. These statements come as a shock to many. Jeff Sessions has been notoriously anti-cannabis and has been resistant to any efforts to advance or advocate for the plant, in any capacity.
Every year the DEA determines production quotas for schedule 1 and 2 controlled substances. Drugs are placed in different schedules based on their likelihood to be abused. schedule 1 and 2 drugs are regarded as having the same potential for abuse. The difference between the two lies in whether or not there is any medical utility. Drugs in schedule 1 are regarded as being medically useful whereas schedule 2 drugs are not.
Drugs in schedule 1 are largely barred from receiving medical research. Therefore, the plant’s schedule 1 status has hampered efforts to research the efficacy of medical marijuana in the United States
What Are DEA Quotas?
The quotas represent the total amount of controlled substances necessary to meet the country’s medical, scientific, research, industrial, and export needs for the year and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.
In addition to raising the quota amount for marijuana by 4,400 pounds, the DEA is reducing the production of opioids quotas by an average of 10 percent.
For the third year, schedule 2 opioids drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine, and fentanyl will be reduced. This comes in the wake of the opioid crisis that is currently striking the United States.
Attorney General Sessions states that the goal is to reduce opioid production.
“The opioid epidemic that we are facing today is the worst drug crisis in American history. President Trump has set the ambitious goal of reducing opioid prescription rates by one-third in three years. We embrace that goal and are resolutely committed to reaching it.”
“According to the National Prescription Audit, we have already made significant progress in reducing prescription rates over the past year. Cutting opioid production quotas by an average of ten percent next year will help us continue that progress and make it harder to divert these drugs for abuse.”
A process was approved by the DEA in 2016 to allow more cultivators to produce cannabis for research after researchers have complained that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get cannabis from the University of Mississippi.
Additionally, they have complained that the quality of the cannabis is low. Low-quality marijuana is often characterized by a low content of its active ingredients; notably THC and CBD.
More than 20 facilities have applied to become produces but the Sessions’ controlled Department of Justice has obstructed the process.
While the efforts of the Trump administration to reduce opioid production, there remains another dimension to this issue. Mexican cartels also play a large role in the production and export of dangerous synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanyl. However, this effort is admirable and will no doubt result in an increase in marijuana research in the United States.