Some may think legal cannabis and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are less at odds than the DEA was with the illicit market, but that may not be so. A national, cannabis trade group is publicly asking the DEA to keep out of medical cannabis research. They think doctors and other health experts should head up this research, not anyone involved with enforcing the law.

“One of the many qualified public health agencies in the federal government (i.e. Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, etc.) should manage all of the processes related to research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis, including making decisions about who might qualify to grow and sell the product to researchers,” said the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) in a May 8 statement to the DEA. “This is perfectly consistent with US [global drug control] treaty obligations,” NCIA continued. “Furthermore, the US should adopt a regulatory framework that encourages and facilitates further research, rather than chilling it.”

The group, who represents national cannabis lobbying interests, made this demand after the DEA released a proposal rule change to its cannabis research regulations. If this goes through, the DEA would assume full ownership of any cannabis produced for research. There is an open public comment period on this through May 22, and during that time, people are speaking up and showing their distrust of a world in which the DEA handles all cannabis research.  

The NCIA feels that any rule change adopted by the DEA will slow down medical cannabis research and stand in the way of patients who want results. Due to the fact that at least 90 percent of Americans at least support medical cannabis, there is definitely a need for more research to be done. While it’s not yet clear what will happen with this decision, it is evident that those who support medical cannabis research want it handled by doctors, not law enforcement. 

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