Various bodies associated with the prohibition of cannabis are under pressure to get moving when it comes to approving applications for the medical research of cannabis.
This pressure is coming on high now as nearly 30 esteemed members of the House of Representatives penned a letter on the matter. The letter was addressed to both the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice, and it called on them to get moving on medical cannabis research applications. The bipartisan letter was also signed by several Democratic candidates who will try to run for president in the next election.
The letter strongly urged Attorney General William Barr and Uttam Dhillon, the Acting Administrator of the DEA, “to do more to speed research on the medicinal benefits of cannabis.” The letter explained that most states in the US, as well as the FDA, accept that cannabis had medicinal value. However, as cannabis is still classed as a Schedule 1 drug on the federal level, it makes the process of researching it “long and arduous”.
As per the letter, “One who wishes to engage in this research must at the very least work with three separate federal entities—the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), DEA, and FDA. Approval is required by the FDA, which includes a site inspection, and FDA.”
The DEA has severely dragged their feet when it comes to promoting, or at least allowing, research on cannabis. It was noted that the DEA has failed to act on at least 26 applications from firms who want to grow cannabis for research purposes. The letter was intended to put a stop to these delays and to reverse the tide. The letter continued, “We urge you then to go beyond these steps and do whatever you can to speed up and improve the research application process.”
The letter ends with a bunch of unanswered questions for the DOJ and DEA. The lawmakers want to know what the status of the 26 outstanding applications is. They also want to know precisely why these applications haven’t been approved.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly blocked many applications. However, Barr spoke in front of Congress recently, promising that change was afoot in terms of the application process for new growers. “I think we’re going to move forward on it,” he said. “I think it’s very important to get those additional suppliers.”
It remains to be seen what the DEA’s next move will be in a long game of chess that’s costing valuable research time. Perhaps the biggest irony of this issue is that the applications for the cultivation of cannabis aren’t even intended for consumers. These companies wish to have the legal right to grow the plant for research purposes only. This just goes to underscore the crippling and long-term damaging effects cannabis prohibition has had since the 1930s .
The winds of change are there, but it will no doubt take some time for people to accept cannabis recreationally, and even for medicinal purposes. In states where cannabis has been legal for a while the attitude is changing slowly. That said, there will always be those who oppose innovations and have a severe stigma when it comes to anything cannabis related.