The Drug Enforcement Agency has unveiled plans to increase the amount of marijuana legally produced for research purposes in the U.S. by 30% in 2020.
This year’s cannabis quota is 2,450 kg and the DEA aims to increase that to 3,200 kg next year to allow more vital research to take place. It follows the Agency’s pledge last month to ramp up the number of marijuana growers who are federally authorized to conduct cannabis research.
It has been under significant pressure from U.S. lawmakers over the past year, as they urged it to speed up the “arduous and long” application process that hopeful researchers have had to endure.
A group of leading cannabis advocates, including Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Rep. Seth Moulton, wrote to the Agency urging it to improve the situation.
Until now a facility at the University of Mississippi has been the only legal source of cannabis for research purposes in the entire country. Yet researchers have complained that it is difficult to get an allocation of cannabis from the facility and that the quality is poor in comparison to what is on the market.
The DEA now plans to license additional growers to produce marijuana for research purposes. The new target for 2020 is 3,200 kg, which is almost triple the among that was sanctioned in 2018.
In a separate notice in the new Federal Register, the DEA said that 384 kg of THC, 40 grams of LSD, 50 g of MDMA and 30 g of psilocybin should produced next year for research purposes.
It added that over the past two years, the number of individuals registered by the DEA to conduct research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, derivatives, and THC has increased by more than 40%, from 384 in January 2017 to 542 in January 2019.
“The aggregate production quota set by DEA each calendar year ensures that patients have the medicines they need while also reducing excess production of controlled prescription drugs that can be diverted and misused,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.