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Natural Products

US DEA moves to expand cannabis for research

by Britt E. Erickson
May 27, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 20


Photo of a person wearing gloves holding a cannabis plant.
Credit: Shutterstock
The US Drug Enforcement Administration is one step closer to approving a few applicants to grow cannabis for research.

Scientists could soon have more options for purchasing cannabis for research purposes after the US Drug Enforcement Administration moved to expand the number of growers. Currently, the University of Mississippi is the only approved supplier of cannabis for research in the US. The DEA announced in 2016 that it would accept applications from other growers who want to supply cannabis for research, but the agency has yet to approve any of the more than 30 applications it received. That is about to change, if growers agree to the terms the DEA stipulated in a memorandum of agreement it sent May 14 to an undisclosed number of qualified applicants. Once the agreements are finalized, the DEA expects to allow the growers to cultivate limited amounts of cannabis to support DEA-licensed researchers. The agency says it plans to review the remaining applications and approve additional ones in the future.


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