Many news items we post about here on Smoke are all research-related. Well, not really because most are studies, observational studies.
The reason for that is because marijuana is still scheduled in the USA and as such no legal research is possible, with the exception of very little legally produced marijuana specifically for research. Currently that weed is available through the University of Mississippi and is of known poor quality. Not representative of the marijuana most consume nowadays. The National Institute on Drugs Abuse (NIDA) supplies “terrible” marijuana to researchers, marijuana often even lower in quality than the 13% THC promised.
Legal research marijuana available to MAPS - Photo courtesy of MAPS via WaPo
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that marijuana is... sh*t. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) analyses the marijuana as having 8% of THC and even found high mold and yeast levels in the provided cannabis.
Under Obama a new federal program was initiated with as specific goal to provide more available high quality federally approved growers who would cater to the research sector.
But nothing has happened since the program was started under the previous administration.
Despite seeing several several new applicants, like ex NAVY Seal George Hodgin, who claims to be ready with his company and already has around 20 universities lined up as client, the US Justice Department is not handing out approvals.
Of course, we know that since Trump’s election not much has moved on federal level. Not much other than first the installment of Jeff Sessions as AG — who was explicitly against marijuana — and now William Barr, who is personally himself against marijuana legislation but open to consider a new approach federally. And has expressed he will respect state level legislation as well.
So while entrepreneurs are ready to expand the real research which can take place, by providing researchers with legally cultivated high quality marijuana, it is the Department of Justice itself which holds up advancement in research and thus keeps the fastest growing job sector in the USA in [legal] limbo.
More so even, the inactivity of the DoJ allows further propagation of reefer madness alike propaganda.
Normally, of course, we would now cry here for the Government to federally deschedule and legalize recreational marijuana. But more than that, we also want to further understand and know the benefits — and harmful effects — of marijuana. To progress in that, it is primordial that the government and Department of Justice move ahead and make research possible. Maybe even follow the EU’s example.
George Hodgin, as CEO of California-based Biopharmaceutical Research Company is ready:
“We only want to provide clean, consistent, compliant cannabis for researchers”
“We’re sitting on one of the most sophisticated cannabis production facilities in the United States. And it’s empty, because the federal government is playing politics with something that is apolitical.”
American citizens are ready, with for the first time even Republican support.
An opioids crisis is still raging and while we do not know whether cannabis can be the solution, it surely can be a positive contributor to the issue.
But as long as William Barr, and the DoJ, hold up the approval of further legal cultivators — federally approved cultivators which also allows marijuana grown for research to be transported across states — we will not know due to the impossible landscape for researchers to do more than “observational research” in the USA.
Meanwhile, due to the federal latency in following the zeitgeist and state level evolution, typical black market issues will continue.
Despite, with the upcoming election year, the federal legalization of cannabis actually being easy brownie points for the current administration and, more even — given the current national citizen support for legal marijuana — an easy way for Trump to counter the ever growing chorus of democrat presidential candidates with legal marijuana as campaign agenda too.
Bills are introduced already. Several of which even benefitting bipartisan support.