It has been almost two years since the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) got the cannabis community all riled up over a promise to expand licenses to additional cannabis growers.
While the agency may have had good intentions, these efforts have since stalled. It seems that ever since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions took over as the leading law enforcement hammer of the United States, he has been pumping the brakes on the wheel of progress — jamming up the 25 applications from pot growers that are under consideration. The latest word is that purported research expansion is a dead scene.
But this is not settling well with a number of federal lawmakers. They are now pressuring Sessions to vacate of all his pot blocking tactics and allow medical marijuana research to mature. Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Kamala Harris of California are leading this effort. The two recently fired off a letter to the attorney general demanding that the DEA’s research plan be allowed to move ahead without further sandbagging.
“Research on marijuana is necessary for evidence-based decision making, and expanded research has been called for by President Trump’s Surgeon General, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the FDA, the CDC, the National Highway Safety Administration, the National Institute of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Academies of Sciences, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse,” the letter reads, according to The Hill.
We’ve seen this sort of thing before. A small handful of Capitol Hill’s creeps and crawlers pour their hearts out in a letter to either Sessions or President Trump asking for them to lighten up their policies with respect to marijuana. For all we know, these unsolicited documents are the subject of high criticism and likely the butt of inter-office jokes. Let’s face it , the Trump administration has spent the better part of the past year, not only discounting the $50 billion cannabis industry, but also spewing underhanded threats that suggest a total castration of marijuana legalization is coming.
But last week, the situation took an unexpected turn. President Trump reportedly struck a non-binding deal with Republican Senator Cory Gardner that allows legal marijuana, at least in Colorado, to continue without the threat of federal interference.
This was likely a real kick in the pants of Jeff Sessions, especially since the agreement was made without first consulting the Department of Justice. Now, the word on the street is that marijuana legalization has the kind of breathing room necessary to carry on to the next phase of its more than four-decade battle with federal prohibition. If this is the case, there should be no issue whatsoever in unlocking the chains that continue to bind medical marijuana research. Both Hatch and Harris say the move is necessary to get to the bottom of the many mysteries surrounding the cannabis plant.
“Research on marijuana is necessary to resolve critical questions of public health and safety, such as learning the impacts of marijuana on developing brains and formulating methods to test marijuana impairment in drivers,” the letter stated.
Despite the fact that over half the nation has legalized the leaf in some fashion, the federal government continues to label the cannabis plant an outlaw substance. Because of this, the DEA only allows the University of Mississippi to supply research weed to the federal government. It is part of a dumb scene that has prevented researchers from obtaining the quality and quantity of marijuana needed to make any real strides in the arena of medical marijuana research.
To date, all of what is known about the powers of pot stems from anecdotal evidence and studies conducted in foreign lands. In fact, it has been suggested that the U.S government’s anti-pot position has ultimately caused it to forfeit the multi-billion mega-billion medical marijuana sector. Countries like Israel and Canada are now leading the game.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are 25 cannabis producers on file with the DEA fully prepared to bring the nation up to speed with respect to cannabis research. All that needs to be done is for the Department of Justice to throw its hands up and just let it happen.
The senators are calling for Attorney General Sessions to commit to the medical marijuana research expansion by August 11. It remains to be seen whether President Trump’s newfound promise to be more pot-friendly will have any effect on the DOJ’s decision.
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