DEA and Justice Department at Odds on Medical Pot Research

Photo by Justin Cannabis

A year ago, the DEA began accepting applications to grow more marijuana for research. They now have 25 proposals to consider, but they need the Department of Justice (DOJ) to sign-off in order to move forward.

So, of course, Jeff Sessions is ignoring them. Actually, he’s blocking them.

“They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.”

As a result, said one senior DEA official quoted in the Washington Post, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.’’

DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said the agency “has always been in favor of enhanced research for controlled substances such as marijuana.’’

It seems no one can make headway with Jeff Sessions’ radical agenda for weed, which avows restarting the War on Drugs, including destroying medical marijuana programs and seizing people’s assets when they have never committed a crime.

Even DEA officials have publicly and privately questioned some of Sessions’ outlandish statements and thoroughly mistaken concepts.

The DEA-DOJ standoff is just the latest example of how out of step Sessions is with the world around him. His modus operandi has been to blatantly reject scientific research on the subject of cannabis.

For reasons best known to himself, acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg, appointed by President Obama in 2015, has declined to remove marijuana from its Schedule 1 classification, which states that it has “no medical use.”

While the DEA complains that their research plans are stalling under Sessions, reclassifying cannabis to Schedule II would make it a lot easier for scientists to study it.

In a letter he wrote in August 2016, Rosenberg said the DEA would “support and promote legitimate research regarding marijuana and its constituent parts.”

In the same letter, Rosenberg said the DEA had already approved such research and had registered 354 people and institutions to study marijuana, including the effects of smoked marijuana on humans.

In fact, it appeared at the time, that the DEA was willing to expand the studies and was asking for applications from people who wanted to grow marijuana to be used for research.

At the moment the only source of marijuana for research is being grown by the University of Mississippi, and it is known to be of the lowest possible quality.

One DEA applicant is Lyle Craker, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who has been waiting for years for approval to do research on MMJ.

“I’ve filled out the forms, but I haven’t heard back from them. I assume they don’t want to answer,’’ Craker said. “They need to think about why they are holding this up when there are products that could be used to improve people’s health. I think marijuana has some bad effects, but there can be some good, and without investigation we really don’t know.’’

Brad Burge, spokesman for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), said that the federal government has prevented important research into marijuana for years.

“That’s a sad state of affairs,’’ said Burge. “If the DEA is now asking for permission to say yes, then the resistance is now further up the chain of command.’’

Rosenberg indicated to the Washington Post that he still would support more marijuana research.

“I stand by what I wrote,” said Rosenberg.

If that is true, can you please step up to the plate? Lives are at stake.

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