AG Sessions backs marijuana research but balks at expanding it

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During testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he supports “more competition” in cannabis research but that he isn’t inclined to grant permits to everyone who applied for permission to study the plant.

According to The Cannabist, Sessions said in a response to Sen. Orrin Hatch – a Utah Republican who has sponsored a bill to ease barriers to MMJ research – that 26 applications are pending for permission to do marijuana research.

“I think it would be healthy to have some more competition in the supply but I’m sure we don’t need 26 new suppliers,” Sessions told Hatch, The Cannabist reported.

In August 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration promised to grant more such MJ research permits, but the Department of Justice has reportedly blocked those permits from moving forward.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Hatch stated that he was “very concerned” about the DEA and the DOJ apparently being “at odds” over MMJ research.

Currently, the only institution authorized by the DEA to perform scientific research on cannabis is the University of Mississippi.