DEA Plans To Increase Production of Marijuana For Research Uses

On Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Justice published a notice in the federal register saying that it plans to alter controlled substances production amounts to allow more research on cannabis, “significantly increasing” the manufacturing levels for marijuana and other substances. 

In addition to the alterations for cannabis, production quotas will also be altered for “several” controlled substances in the Controlled Substances Act on schedules I and II and an assessment for annual needs for three list I chemicals: ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine. 

The notice explained that the production quotas are being raised “to provide for the estimated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States,” but do not include imports for industrial uses. The DEA considered multiple factors while determining its proposal, including changes in demand and net disposal, whether these changes are temporary or not, current inventories, possibilities of the change increasing inventory unnecessarily, and research needs. 

The DEA explained that “marihuana, and marihuana extract” are “directly related to increased interest by DEA registrants in the use of hallucinogenic controlled substances for research and clinical trial purposes.”  It also said that it “firmly believes in supporting regulated research” of marijuana and other controlled substances on schedule I. 

The DEA’s notice said that it plans to produce 4,400 pounds of marijuana in 2021, increasing its quota by 500,000 grams, and adding an additional 500,000 grams of cannabis extract. 

Marijuana Moment reported that the DEA routinely makes adjustments to these quotas, but that the language in this specific notice “is unique, reflecting a more progressive attitude toward the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and marijuana as more jurisdictions continue to reform laws governing the substances.” 

The public can comment on the DEA’s proposal during the next 30 days.