DOJ memo suggests cannabis research held up amid flawed process

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A 2018 U.S. Department of Justice opinion released as part of a court settlement explains why the Drug Enforcement Administration has delayed acting on marijuana research applications and is now revising its rules.

The Justice Department legal memo concluded that the DEA violated international drug laws by not physically possessing the marijuana grown for research purposes and controlling its distribution.

Instead, marijuana was shipped to researchers from a center at the University of Mississippi, the DEA’s sole licensed grower.

The memo was released as part of a court settlement with Scottsdale Research Institute, which sued the DEA for explanations about why it is revising its rules and delaying the approval of marijuana research applications.

The DEA in March proposed new rules that give it control consistent with the DOJ legal counsel’s view.

The revisions are expected to pave the way for an expanded marijuana research program.

Public comments on the proposed rules can be made until May 22.