Most people don’t know it, but the Federal Government has been growing it’s own pot for a very long time.. At least for the past 40 years. No, it’s not a tin foil hat conspiracy or anything of the kind. The government grows its own marijuana for research purposes. The oldest production goes back to a University of Mississippi contract that is now a little over 40 years running.
But that isn’t the only growing the government does. In recent years, especially under the current administration as more states open up laws to allow various medical applications for marijuana and in some cases for recreational use, the government grow operation has grown by leaps and bounds. in fact this is the 2nd year in a row the DEA has had to ask in a big production increase over what was projected to be needed. So Ole Miss now has some competition.
The department is recommending that the federal government produce almost 900 pounds of marijuana for research in 2015. Huffington Post Reports:
The proposal, signed by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, seeks to increase the government’s pot production from its projected need of 125 kilograms (276 pounds) to 400 kilograms (882 pounds). The government needs more marijuana because of “unanticipated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States,” the DEA said in a notice published in the Federal Register.
The DEA must approve researchers’ licenses to handle and test marijuana, which is considered illegal under federal law, and must dole out the drug for research from a government stash. This is the second year in a row that the DEA requested an increase from what it had estimated it would need, reflecting rising interest in researching the drug.
Currently 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes and an additional 12 have legalized the limited medical use of CBD-rich strains of marijuana. Four states, along with Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana, and 19 states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the plant.
Stubbornly, the federal government still officially classifies marijuana as a substance with “no currently accepted medical use.” This, despite what is now decades of research that says otherwise, including it’s own. That conflict probably needs to be resolved sooner rather than later and indeed a rising tide of voices are calling on the Federal Government to reschedule marijuana off it’s current “Schedule I” status. A status reserved for only the worst of substances. This includes new legislation being introduced in Congress just last month.
Marijuana has time and again proven it’s medicinal worth to just about everyone but the Fed. And this antiquated and political scheduling of the drug, which in practical terms has served to slow and stifle any positive research of the plant needs to end.
The scheduling has also been a hindrance and burden to job creating small businesses in states where marijuana has been approved for either medicinal or recreational use. And it’s not just a handful or the exeption any longer. A majority of our United States both in the number of states and even more so in population now have some form of legalization or recognition of the medicinal value.
Also burdening research are other groups like the National Institute of Drug Abuse who put additional hurdles that are purposefully put in front of researchers. When some opponents of legalization point out a lack of research, they know that wasn’t by accident. They have the NIDA on their side slowing any progress that gets in their regressive way.
By the way, almost every other modern country doesn’t have these problems as they have put aside the old myths and wive’s tales about marijuana.
Simply put, the federal government needs to catch up, and this increased research is a good step in the right direction. It reflects the way our actual society is moving in this area. But the laws need to be changed and modernized to reflect that as well, so this important work or job creation aren’t overly burdened by government regulation any longer. And we need to move not in “baby steps” but in adult ones. There is a lot of catching up to do.
Check out this short video that describes some of the barriers researchers face: