For four years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has allowed the federal government to grow a meager 46.3 pounds of cannabis annually for research purposes.
But this week, the agency formalized its intentions to dramatically boost that amount to 1,433 pounds in the name of science.
The crop will be grown by the University of Mississippi in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as part of an ongoing federal project involving marijuana research.
The increase in production was first announced in May. A public comment period followed. Just one comment was submitted, and it was supportive.
According to a May report in The Washington Post, one NIDA official said the agency will be funding more than 100 studies regarding marijuana, including 30 into “therapeutic uses” of the drug.
Such studies could help persuade more federal lawmakers to support reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I narcotic — alongside heroin and LSD — to a less harmful category, and could help pave the way for other federal legislation.