Obama Administration Eliminates PHS Review for Marijuana Research

On June 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it had eliminated the redundant Public Health Service (PHS) review process for federally regulated marijuana research, removing a significant barrier to privately funded medical marijuana research. Since 1999, researchers seeking to study marijuana needed to obtain permission from PHS to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which maintains a monopoly on the supply of marijuana for research in the U.S. Now, researchers with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance can request marijuana directly from NIDA without the additional PHS review process. MAPS is now working with Prof. Lyle Craker to prepare a new request asking the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for permission to further open doors for medical marijuana research by opening a growing facility at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “We’re hoping the overall political environment has shifted enough where we will actually get permission from the DEA to start this farm and then we won’t have to go through NIDA at all,” Brad Burge of MAPS told U.S. News and World Report. “It’s a great opportunity for the Obama administration to show it’s progressive on marijuana issues. We’re pretty hopeful."