NIDA Monopoly on Providing Research Cannabis Broken At Last

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Since 1968, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Mississippi Research Center have had a monopoly on production and provision of cannabis for research purposes in the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration fought in court for years to maintain that monopoly.

On August 12, 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration finally relented, and published a proposed rule that would allow other institutions to register with the DEA and legally to produce cannabis for research purposes.

The move was hailed as a tremendous victory by Rick Doblin, noted researcher and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), who sued the DEA over the NIDA monopoly. “It’s tremendous news. We actually started this effort in 1999, to end the NIDA monopoly, and to try to get a license from DEA for our own marijuana production facility. And, it’s been an, you know, almost 17 years now effort, and finally, the DEA has agreed that they will end the NIDA monopoly, because as long as the NIDA monopoly existed, there was no way to make marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine. And that’s what’s been so frustrating, that, on the one hand, the federal government has said there’s not enough evidence to reschedule marijuana, but on the other hand, they’ve blocked the ability to get the evidence. And so now that DEA has said that they’ll end the NIDA monopoly, that evidence can be gathered. But it’s going to take four to six years, it could be fifteen to $25 million to gather it, but at least it’s possible now, whereas before it was not possible.”

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