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Obama administration set to remove barriers to marijuana research

Today, the Obama administration is planning to remove barriers on domestic marijuana research. According to a New York Times report, the policy is expected to drastically increase the supply of marijuana available to researchers and scientists to better understand the benefits and consequences of the plant.[i]

Before this notion, the only institution authorized for domestic marijuana research has been the University of Mississippi, but prior restrictions made it difficult for biologists, horticulturalists, and other scientists to fully and accurately understand the effects marijuana has on the human brain and body. Under the administration’s new policy more institutions will be able to research the drug with much less restriction.

“It will create a supply of research-grade marijuana that is diverse, but more importantly, it will be competitive and you will have growers motivated to meet the demand of researchers,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The new policy will be published as soon as Thursday in the federal register, according to the three officials, who have seen the policy but spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it. In the status quo, a lot of marijuana research is done overseas where restrictions on the drug are limited.

It is unclear how many additional universities would receive licenses to grow marijuana, but the new policy does not set a cap on the number who could qualify. Any institution that has an approved research protocol and the security measures needed to store dangerous drugs can apply.

By Kevin Thompson Regional Evaluator Region 9 Prevention Resource Center kthompson@pbrcada.org

[i] Catherine Saint Louis and Matt Apuzzo, “Obama Administration Set to Remove Barrier to Marijuana Research,” New York Times, August 10, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/science/obama-administration-set-to-remove-barrier-to-marijuana-research.html?_r=0.


Published August 11, 2016.

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