Federal Government Expands Medical Marijuana Research

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is expanding medical marijuana research in a move that many advocates have called long overdue. On Monday, the DEA said it would increase the number of entities licensed to conduct medical cannabis research, while working to speed up application delays. The announcement reiterates that DEA registration is no longer necessary to grow or conduct research on hemp.

“I am pleased that DEA is moving forward with its review of applications for those who seek to grow marijuana legally to support research,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with our colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services and across the Administration to improve research opportunities wherever we can.”

DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon added that “DEA is making progress in the program to register additional marijuana growers for federally authorized research, and will work with other relevant federal agencies to expedite the necessary next steps.”

“We support additional research into marijuana and its components, and we believe registering more growers will result in researchers having access to a wider variety for study.”

542 individuals were registered with the DEA to conduct marijuana-related research in January 2019. That figure was up by 40% from 384 two years prior.