You don’t get to hear any good news that often in today’s world. But now and then we hear a tidbit or a chunk of story that puts a smile on our faces. Like this one- only last week, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) finally drafted plans to allow the cultivation of 3.2 Million grams of marijuana for scientific and medicinal research. This came as a surprise as the quantity saw a 30% increase from last year.
The DEA suggested these numbers in a notice in September 2019. This notice was published in the Federal register, and it matches the numbers that considered all the input from health professionals, officers from state and federal offices, and the general public as well. These overwhelming inputs and submissions where received at a public comment period.
Most of these submissions were disguised as concerned voices when the DEA proposed the reduction of the quantity of Opioids. People feared that these reductions could cause a scarcity of drugs and could ultimately impact the patients negatively.
But these concerns fell on deaf ears as the DEA actually reduced the quantity further. And these reduction affected specific opioids like oxycodone and oxymorphone. While the previous reduction quoted 72,593,983 gm of oxycodone, this reduction further lowered it to 67,593,983.
But don’t worry, the quota for marijuana did not vary after the public comment period. The DEA explained about the quotas, “estimated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States, for lawful export requirements, and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.” Because of this justified demand for marijuana that can be used for research and which is of high quality has increased. More and more states of the US have taken steps to decriminalize the plant for medicinal purposes or recreational purposes or both.
The DEA stated that the number of people associated with the agency to research marijuana, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and its extracts, “increased by more than 40 percent, from 384 in January 2017 to 542 in January 2019.”
Even though there is an increase in marijuana production quota and registered researchers. Guess how many federally authorized marijuana cultivation facilities there are in the entire United States? Only One – yes, the University of Mississippi has a farm that is the only federally authorized facility. Three years ago, the DEA said that it would start authorizing more such facilities, but it has not come through that claim as of yet.
Such delays sparked an uproar and became the foundation of a lawsuit. The lawsuit entailed of scientists and researchers holding the DEA accountable for falling short of its promise and not being able to complete its responsibilities and duties. As they were supposed to sign off on around two dozen applications that would become marijuana cultivation facilities. They even accused the agency of deliberately using delay tactics.
Alas, this lawsuit was dismissed by a federal court. DEA defended itself by saying that the number of applications they received, required the agency to amend the old rules, form new and alternative rules. As the DEA was so overloaded by the applications, the court conveyed that the agency was taking measures to re-evaluate the rules.