DEA slow to move on marijuana research applications

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Almost a year after the Drug Enforcement Administration pledged to grant more licenses to grow marijuana for research purposes, the agency has yet to authorize any such applications.

The DEA has received at least 25 applications from those interested in growing cannabis for medical research, but none have been approved or rejected, leading some to question whether last year’s promise was a red herring, according to STAT News.

“What has progressed with the DEA over the past year? Nothing,” said Rachel Gillette, a Colorado marijuana attorney. “I would be surprised if we had another conversation in five years and they had granted another license.”

The DEA has no established timeline for MJ research applications, and a spokeswoman told STAT that part of the delay is because the review process is new.

But for now, the only officially sanctioned source for research-grade cannabis remains the University of Mississippi, at a cultivation center run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The center came under criticism in March for producing moldy marijuana.

A lack of scientific studies – and the legal obstacles to such studies – has continually been a business hurdle for those in the medical cannabis industry, who often have to rely on anecdotal evidence when advising patients.