Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act, the DEA sets a quota for the legal manufacture of marijuana every year. As a Schedule I substance, this means the DEA sets the amount of marijuana that can be manufactured for research. Earlier this week, the DEA proposaed an increase to that limit for 2014 to meet demand from approved studies:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and it oversees the cultivation, production and distribution of research-grade marijuana on behalf of the United States Government, pursuant to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (March 30, 1961, 18 UST 1407). NIDA recently notified the DEA that it required additional supplies of marijuana to be manufactured in 2014 to provide for current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana. Specifically, NIDA stated that 600 kilograms is necessary to be manufactured in 2014.
The DEA was unaware of NIDA's additional need at the time the initial aggregate production quota for marijuana was established in September 2013.
The aggregate production quota for marijuana should be increased in order to provide a continuous and uninterrupted supply of marijuana in support of DEA-registered researchers who are approved by the Federal Government to utilize marijuana in their research protocols.
This action does not represent any real change in DEA policy--it doesn't make it any easier for researchers to get the necessary approvals to study marijuana, for example. But the need to increase the quota is a reflection of the fact that researchers have been facing comparably fewer hurdles in studying marijuana over the past few years. (Of course, it is still far more difficult to study than it should be. Marijuana is a relatively benign substance that almost everyone acknowledges at least demonstrates the potential for medical value--even if some believe we don't yet have enough evidence to say for sure. It's hard to think of good reasons to make a substance like this any harder to study than a non-scheduled plant or chemical that shows promise as a medicine. But, of course, the CSA does exactly that as part of marijuana's Scheule I status.)
The Huffington Post has this article dicussing the proposal.