US senators urge Justice Department to quit blocking marijuana research

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One of the ways U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is standing in the way of cannabis industry progress is by stalling marijuana-related research permits through the Drug Enforcement Administration, and two U.S. senators are tired of it.

Republican Orrin Hatch, of Utah, and Democrat Kamala Harris, of California, sent Sessions a letter this week imploring the attorney general to end the obstructionism on “more than two dozen requests to grow marijuana for use in research,” The Hill reported.

“Research on marijuana is necessary for evidence-based decisionmaking, 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 senators wrote to Sessions.

They further asked for a commitment from Sessions that the DEA would address all outstanding research permit requests by Aug. 11.

At least 25 requests have been submitted to the DEA for research permits, The Hill reported.

But the only federally approved research facility remains the University of Mississippi, which was found last year to be producing marijuana ridden with mold.

The DEA promised in August 2016 to begin issuing more marijuana-related research permits.

But then Donald Trump won the White House and Sessions took over the Department of Justice.

Since then, no research permits have materialized, despite ongoing complaints about the inaction from stakeholders.