The DEA is planning on publishing its new request to expand the production of federally funded cannabis grows by more than 5 times its current production. The purpose of the expansion is to make more cannabis available for researchers to better understand the Cannabis sativa plant. The request will be published in the Federal Register sometime soon. If you are curious enough to actually checkout the Federal Register and search marijuana you will likely be disappointed if you are a cannabis legalization advocate or pleased if you are an opponent to legalization.
The first article that comes up when you search for marijuana, or any of its related terms, on the Federal Register site is an article about the most recent denial to have cannabis rescheduled to a Schedule 2 substance from its current status as a Schedule 1 substance. The article was published two years ago on August 12th, 2016, but if you continue to read the article you will see that the petition to have cannabis rescheduled occurred on November 30th, of 2011. It took the DEA almost five years to respond, and when they did they just did a copy and paste regurgitation of their age old response about how, “marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.”
Perhaps this new attempt to expand the amount of marijuana grown by the federal government for research purposes is nothing more than a placation of a public that wants cannabis legalized. Last year the DEA announced they wanted more cultivators than the current University of Mississippi facility that reportedly grows ditch weed and makes researchers lives very difficult that try and attain the plant for study purposes. In response, more than 24 applications were submitted to become growers of cannabis for federal research. The DEA has failed to even looked at one of them and the biggest reasons for that is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s bias against cannabis.
Apparently the opioid epidemic is also playing a part in the request to grow even more cannabis. In the same announcement to be released soon, the DEA is demanding that 10% less opioid-based pharmaceutical drugs be produced such as oxycodone and fentanyl. “The opioid epidemic that we are facing today is the worst drug crisis in American history… Cutting opioid production quotas by an average of ten percent next year will help us continue that progress and make it harder to divert these drugs for abuse,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told reporters. There is a strong argument that cannabis legalization is the only thing slowing the rise in opioid related overdose deaths in the country.
The federal government is under a lot of pressure to do something about the rate of pharmaceutical opioid drug overdoses. Many people rightfully point their finger at the federal government for the crisis in the first place. While the DEA spent its time focused on the war on drugs, they allowed dangerous legal drugs to leak into the illicit market at a truly unbelievable rate. Many argue that the DEA and other federal authorities turned a blind eye to the epidemic to help line the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry and the politicians that have supported them. All the while, the most dangerous aspect of marijuana seems to have simply been possessing it and facing armed authorities ready to arrest and possibly even kill. We will have to see if the federal government follows through on expanding marijuana grow facilities and forces the pharmaceutical industry to reduce its production of the actually addictive and dangerous drugs being produced legally.