Politics, Science

DEA Asks Federal Government To Grow Almost 1,000 Pounds Of Cannabis In 2018

The 2018 aggregate production quotas that DEA laid out in a Federal Register filing slated for publication are amounts the agency thinks will “provide for the estimated medical, scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States, lawful export requirements, and the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.”

In addition to establishing the quota of nearly 1,000 pounds of cannabis, the DEA will allow the production of 384,460 grams (978 pounds) of cannabis in 2018.

The Scoop

The order, signed by Acting DEA Administrator Robert W. Patterson, also allocates quotas of 92,120 grams of cocaine, 40 grams of LSD, 45 grams of heroin, 30 grams of psilocybin, 30 grams of ibogaine and varying levels of many other substances.

The filing comes just a few days after DEA finalized 2017 drug production quotas, establishing a limit of 472,000 grams of cannabis and 409,000 grams of THC.

In comparison, the proposed reduction for 2018 seems to run counter to DEA’s stated goal of expanding cannabis research. If there are to be more studies, it would probably make sense to allow for an increased supply of cannabis.

What About Trump?

The reduction could also reflect the fact that the Trump administration’s U.S. Department of Justice, of which DEA is a part, doesn’t appear especially interested in additional studies on cannabis.

Since 1968, the only legal source of cannabis for researchers is a farm that the University of Mississippi operates under a license from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Scientists have complained that it is difficult to obtain product from the facility and that it is often of low quality.

Last year, however, DEA moved to end the monopoly by creating a process to license additional cultivators.

Although the agency reportedly received at least 25 applications from would-be legal cannabis growers, higher-level Justice Department officials have blocked action on the proposals.

What About Congress?

Members of Congress have pushed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to allow DEA to process the applications, but he hasn’t yet responded to a bipartisan letter about the issue.

However, Sessions said in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month that allowing more research cultivation would be “healthy.”

The Final Hit

For now, DEA seems to be operating under the assumption that researchers won’t need more than 1,000 pounds of cannabis for next year. However, that could change, as the agency often adjusts its quotas throughout the year as its assessment of needs changes.

The requested cannabis amounts to a little more than 978 pounds of government-cultivated cannabis.

While that may sound like a lot, it’s actually a slight decrease from this year’s level.

Do you think the DEA should be asking the government to grow this much cannabis, considering they are spending $18 million per year on destroying the crop?

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