DEA Takes Steps Toward Letting Companies Produce Marijuana for Research Purposes

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) notified companies recently that they are moving toward approving applications to grant federal authorization for manufacturing marijuana for research purposes, according to an article from Marijuana Moment

The article explained that over the last 50 years, only one facility has held this level of approval – the University of Mississippi. The Obama administration initially opened applications for additional companies to gain authorization to produce marijuana, but the Biden administration was the first to make explicit progress towards approval. These recent advancements by the DEA are the first look into the Biden administration’s stance on cannabis policy.

Part of this progress was prompted by multiple lawsuits filed against the DEA by companies who had experienced substantial processing delays in their applications. This included those who had applications in waiting for years, like the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI), which argued that the cannabis grown at the University of Mississippi was poor in quality and therefore insufficient for research purposes. The response by the court was that the DEA must take steps to approve applications. The DEA responded by announcing they would be sending out these conditional acceptances.

Thus far, these conditional acceptances have been sent to companies including Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC), SRI, and Groff NA Hemplex LLC. The DEA announced it is “nearing the end of its review of certain marijuana grower applications,” and that “a number of manufacturers’ applications to cultivate marijuana for research needs in the United States appears to be consistent with applicable legal standards and relevant laws.”

BRC CEO George Hodgin is hoping that by gaining the approval of the DEA, he can “change the trajectory of our business and the medicinal cannabis industry,” according to an article by Marijuana Moment. Executives like Hodgin hope that, in the future, they will be able to use their authorizations to create jobs, discover cannabis-derived treatments, and unlock important intellectual property.

The next steps for companies like BRC and SRI is to approve their conditional acceptances by completing the Memorandum of Agreement sent by the DEA.