Those looking to play a role in the development of medical uses of cannabis in the United States, listen up; Uncle Sam needs you. As reported by Marijuana Moment, a listing posted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse via the Federal Business Opportunities website last week asked for “capability statements” from businesses with the capacity to produce a variety of marijuana strains and products. Prospective firms must also be equipped with storage space for up to 5000 kilograms of cannabis stock.
The posting seems to be excellent news for those who have been waiting for the US to step up the cannabis stock available for critical drug trials. Such projects can only proceed with federally authorized marijuana and only one farm has been approved by the feds to provide such a supply. A University of Mississippi site currently holds the only authorization—as it has since it was approved way back in 1968.
What could have caused this long-awaited entrée to the expansion of cannabis science? Many will point to the recent resignation by request of Trump of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions’ well-known reputation as a salty adversary of legal cannabis may have played a major role in slowing the federal government’s support of marijuana clinical trials. His departure has certainly invigorated the cannabis industry—publicly traded stocks like those of Canada’s Tilray, Canopy Growth, and Aurora Cannabis spiked in the hours following the announcement.
Here’s some more specs, for those interested in playing what could be a monumental role in US cannabis history by becoming the feds’ supplier. Prospective companies must be equipped to grow or be able to procure marijuana from qualified foreign sources. They’ll need to be able to process marijuana extracts with a range of THC and CBD ratios. The ability to manufacture standardized marijuana cigarettes is a must. They’ll need to be able to store the product and place FDA quality requirements. Also obligatory is the capacity to operate a secure shipping facility, to be able to send that cannabis out to scientists across the nation. The right candidate will also need to be able to secure all the licenses you need to work with controlled substances, and fulfill a vast array of other requirements. (Check the listing itself for more on these specifications.)
Marijuana advocates cheered earlier this year when it was announced two teams — one at NYU Langone Health and the Montefiore Medical Center and another at UC San Diego — will be launching clinical trials to examine the effect of marijuana on children with autism. Earlier this year, Science magazine published an article encouraging research professionals to consider cannabis research as a career.
Now it seems that large-scale cannabis producers may be able to play a role in making this green future a reality. We’ll ask of you just one favor; if your firm is the qualified candidate the feds are looking for, can you make sure that the pot you produce for scientists is the good stuff? The US government has a dire reputation when it comes to the quality of its cannabis. Say no to stems!