The marijuana industry appears to be heading in a new direction. In a major move by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, an approval was made to cultivate massive amounts of marijuana. The effort aims to provide researchers with vast amounts of marijuana to further study medicinal uses of the drug.
According to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), the DEA holds the authority to manufacture and produce marijuana. As it stands, the DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug which is set in accordance to its apparent risk of abuse. Supporters of legal marijuana are aiming to have the DEA reschedule it as a Schedule II drug, making it recognizable for its medicinal benefits. The DEA’s recent support of marijuana research creates optimism among marijuana supporters that it will become a Schedule II drug in the not too distant future.
The DEA’s new proposal sets to increase the Established Aggregate Production Quota for marijuana to 400,000 grams, more than tripling the initial APQ for 2015 which was at 125,000 grams. The increase was in response to the rising demand for cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol is an extracted component of marijuana which is believed to harbor the medicinal effects without the euphoric feeling that’s accredited to THC.
DEA registered manufacturers informed the agency of their need to obtain supplies of CBD to test its medicinal properties. Two particular companies, Insys Therapeutics and GW Pharma, are performing extensive research with CBD and are seeking approval for drugs to treat different types of epilepsy.
Overall, the high demand for CBD demonstrates the governments’ growing interest in marijuana research. At the moment, marijuana is legal in 23 states either medically or recreationally. According to the DEA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has requested additional supplies of marijuana to be manufactured in 2015 to provide for ongoing and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana. The approved APQ may grow even higher after a Federal Register posting expressed interest earlier this week. The new outlook may rise to the production of 658,000 grams by the end of fiscal year 2015.
To further elaborate on the government’s growing support of marijuana research, a recent report by The Daily Chronicle stated that compliant patients, caregivers and businesses can no longer be arrested or prosecuted by law enforcement in states where marijuana is legal.
The marijuana industry is currently in a transitional period, shifting away from the taboo that once froze research advancements, allowing those who embraced its benefits to be imprisoned and persecuted. The ultimate goal for federal legalization is no longer a far-fetched dream as more government officials realize the financial and medical benefits linked to marijuana. By protecting those who solely seek to use marijuana in accordance with the law, the country is gradually progressing to a new day that will present imperative treatment options for many individuals in need.