Marijuana research in the United States has not moved forward for two years due to US Attorney Jeff Sessions hardline position on cannabis.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been receiving applications for new growers for cannabis research in the past two years. However, these applicants haven’t heard any feedback from the federal government, US media reported.
In 2016, the DEA ended the federal government monopoly on growing cannabis for research purposes, permitting applicants from all over the United States to grow marijuana for research.
But giving these non-federal applicants a license has come to a standstill because Sessions has taken the unprecedented step by intervening in the DEA’s decisions, The Fix reported.
“None of the 25 applications submitted thus far has been accepted or rejected,” the CATO Institute reported. “Instead of allowing the regulated production of marijuana for research purposes, as allowed under the law, the DEA is keeping applicants in bureaucratic limbo.”
Violated the UN?
When asked about the lack of response to these applicants, Sessions said the language in the policy violated the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the institute reported.
However, the UN treaty allows for medical research and use, especially amid the increased number of marijuana research taking place abroad.
DEA’s inaction also comes on the heels of the approval of the CBD-based drug Epidiolex by the Federal Drug Agency (FDA).
Following the drug’s approval, the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said: “We’ll continue to support rigorous scientific research on the potential medical uses of marijuana-derived products.”
Keeping these applicants waiting with no conclusive answer has received the wrath of Senators from both sides of the aisle.
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Kamala Harris (D-California) sent a bipartisan complaint letter urging Sessions to provide a timeline for processing and potentially licensing these applicants.
“Restricting scientific research and development within the United States will only hurt American scientists, companies, and patients,” the institute said.
Last month, Oklahoma became the 30th US state to allow medical marijuana and Vermont the 9th in permitting the recreational use of cannabis.
Marijuana research in the UK
Also, the trend to research marijuana is on the rise.
In March, the MediPen research facility at the port city of Cardiff, south coast of Wales, said its British scientists were experimenting with cannabinoids to see if it could slow the growth of cancer cells.
While some low dosage of cannabis oil is allowed in the UK, ironically the researchers are conducting their experimentation in a country where medical marijuana remains illegal.
Most recently, US Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde has invested $10 million in UK cannabis research company.