There seems to be a conflict between the US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on the subject of marijuana research. The justice department effectively blocked the DEA from taking action on some proposals to grow marijuana for research purposes.
Last year, the anti-drug agency started receiving applications from professionals asking permission to grow the plant to be used for scientific studies. Since then, the applications accumulated to a current total of 25 proposals now sitting idle on the DEA desk, waiting for a decision.
This is because before the DEA can give a nod to the requests, they need to secure an approval from the US Department of Justice first. But with the department’s silence on the matter, it seems like they don’t even want to talk about the matter.
The clash is only the most recent of the many standoffs between the agency and members of President Trump’s new administration.
Just this previous month, DEA’s acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg boldly condemned the president’s remark on a Long Island incident regarding police treatment of suspects, in an email.
The department is also allegedly pushing the agency to specifically take action on the MS-13, an international criminal gang believed to be involved in narcotics sales. However, DEA insists that there are bigger threats to focus on.
Not a fan
Justice department head Jeff Sessions has been vocal about his disapproval of cannabis. Sessions has called the drug “overhyped” and expressed his skepticism about the benefits of cannabis smoking.
“Dosages can be constructed in a way that might be beneficial, I acknowledge that, but if you smoke marijuana, for example, where you have no idea how much THC you’re getting, it’s probably not a good way to administer a medicinal amount. So forgive me if I’m a bit dubious about that,” Sessions said.
Even the DEA itself has never been lax on the drug. They retained cannabis in its schedule 1 status a year ago, a position it shares with heroin and signifies that the drug has no accepted medical use.
But Rosenberg wasn’t closed to the possibility of exploring the potential of the drug either. Even then, he expressed his support for legitimate marijuana research and stated that, in fact, the DEA has already commenced approving such researches for over 300 people and institutions.
The justice department’s non-action to the DEA’s requests essentially delays the progress of marijuana studies in the US.