On July 25, 2018, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions received a formal letter from eight U.S. Senators advocating for an end to the NIDA monopoly on research-grade marijuana.
“We write to encourage you to finalize your review of applications submitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for licenses to manufacture marijuana for scientific research. Our nation’s need for meaningful federally sanctioned research is critical. Research and medical communities should have access to research-grade materials to answer questions around marijuana’s efficacy and potential impacts, both positive and adverse. Finalizing the review of applications for marijuana manufacturing will assist in doing just that.
For nearly fifty years, the University of Mississippi has had the sole contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to grow cannabis for research purposes. To expand the number of manufacturers, the DEA submitted a notice in the Federal Register on August 11, 2016, soliciting applications for licenses to manufacture marijuana for research purposes. Under this notice, DEA explained its legal authority to ‘increase the number of entities registered under the Controlled Substances Act (C SA) to grow (manufacture) marijuana to supply legitimate researchers in the United States.’ However, almost two years have passed since the DEA’s notice without any new schedule I marijuana manufacturer registrations.”
Download and read the full letter, which was signed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz, Chuck Grassley, Cory Gardner, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Christopher A. Coons, Orrin Hatch, and Tim Kaine.