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DEA allows massive increase in marijuana production (for research)

By Oscar Pascual |

Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) may have spent most of their resources previously eradicating marijuana, they now plan to fund federal cannabis research on a grand scale.

In a Federal Register posting on Tuesday, the agency announced an increase in production of marijuana for research purposes, with a quota set at 658,000 grams — more than five times the amount initially established in 2014, reports the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society.

The DEA currently controls production of substances classified as Schedule I or II under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Cannabis research in America has been minimal due to its Schedule I classification claiming that marijuana has no recognized medical benefits.

The DEA initially released its production quotas for Schedule I and II controlled substances in September 2014, which also includes illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The agency’s 2015 production quota for marijuana was set at only 125,000 grams of marijuana — all of which was to be shared between all national research laboratories.

But as marijuana’s therapeutic effects on debilitating disorders such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and PTSD became more evident through the use of cannabis products rich in cannabidiol (CBD), so too did the need for a larger amount of pot for medical research. Drug companies such as GW Pharma are currently seeking FDA approval for their CBD-based pharmaceuticals.

In fact, the DEA’s most recent proposal to increase production is now the second in two months. A previous request made in April already set a huge quota increase at 400,000 grams.

“Since the establishment of the initial 2015 aggregate production quotas, the DEA has received notification from DEA registered manufacturers that research and product development involving cannabidiol, is increasing beyond that previously anticipated for 2015,” the DEA explained in a notice. “The associated product development activities are related to process validation and commercialization activities, including qualification activities related to potential FDA submission support.”

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