The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wants to increase the amount of marijuana produced for research next year – and by quite a margin.
The DEA is proposing a boost from 2,450 kilograms in 2019 to 3,200 kilograms in 2020. This year’s level was also quite a jump on 2018, when it was just 443 kilograms.
“This will meet the need created by the increase in the amount of approved research involving marijuana,” says a statement from the Administration “Over the last two years, the total number of individuals registered by DEA to conduct research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, derivatives and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has increased by more than 40 percent, from 384 in January 2017 to 542 in January 2019.”
In other recent cannabis news from the DEA, last month it announced DEA registration would no longer be required to grow or manufacture certain types of cannabis, specifically hemp – but it won’t happen right away. It also said it would “facilitate and expand” scientific and medical marijuana research – and we see an indication of that with the announcement of proposed increased production.
However, the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) doesn’t appear to be particularly impressed with its efforts.
While the DEA is getting with the times somewhat, it’s still persisting in referring to marijuana as “marihuana” in some of its documentation. It seems continued use of the word has its roots in the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which was the first step towards prohibition in the USA.
On a related note, the DEA is also proposing to reduce the amount of certain opioids produced next year – fentanyl by 31 percent, hydrocodone by 19 percent, hydromorphone by 25 percent, oxycodone by 9 percent and oxymorphone by 55 percent.
“Combined with morphine, the proposed quota would be a 53 percent decrease in the amount of allowable production of these opioids since 2016,” says the Administration.
The reduction follows the enactment of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act last year (and yes, that’s the full name of the Act – you can view it here).
The prescription opioid epidemic has wreaked a very heavy toll in the USA. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse; prescription opioid overdose deaths rose from 3,442 in 1999 to 17,029 in 2017.
In addition to the reduction in production, cannabis has shown promise as a tool in tackling the USA’s prescription opioid crisis.