The U.S. Department of Justice said Monday that it plans to expand the number of marijuana growers authorized to supply institutions conducting federally approved cannabis research.
For decades, the University of Mississippi has been the only entity federally licensed to produce marijuana for research.
The long-awaited move comes after researchers sought court intervention to compel the Drug Enforcement Administration to process the applications to grow marijuana for research. The DEA began accepting applications to grow marijuana for federally approved research about three years ago, but the agency has yet to approve any of the more than two dozen applications filed.
Researchers in recent years have complained that the Mississippi cannabis is of poor quality and low potency, and often tainted by mold and other impurities. Some have called it “Mississippi ditch weed” and lamented that the delay has prevented them from doing federally permitted science using high-quality, readily-available marijuana produced in other states.
The move announced Monday would give researchers a wider variety of cannabis to study, Uttam Dhillon, the DEA's acting administrator, said in a statement.
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