The DEA is looking to increase the amount of cannabis grown in America for research purposes from around 1,000 pounds to over 5,400 pounds. The move could have many implications, including adding new growers who are allowed to produce cannabis for research, and creating more data about cannabis’ benefits...
The DEA's announcement of a very significant increase in the amount of cannabis which can be grown for research purposes comes at a time when many Americans are voicing their opinions on the need for more access to medicinal cannabis. Political pressure may have influenced the decision, but the official reason from the DEA is that the new quota "reflects the total amount of controlled substances necessary to meet the country’s medical, scientific, research, industrial, and export needs for the year and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks."
For years scientists have complained that the only legal federal grower of cannabis, the University of Mississippi, has been providing researchers with low quality products which have also been difficult to access due to their limited quantity. The massive increase in the quota for next year could be a sign that more producers could, finally, get approved for the growing of cannabis for federally permitted research. More importantly, it could provide federal researchers access to greater amounts of superior cannabis.
As noted in the Forbes article linked below, "The DEA's huge increase in marijuana production quotas for 2019 could be a sign that it anticipates eventual approval of some of the additional grower applications, or it could just indicate that reserve stocks at the Mississippi farm are getting low and that it's time to re-up the federal cannabis stash as interest in marijuana's medical benefits and other effects increases among the public and scientists who wish to study it..."
Hopefully this move is a sign that the federal government is moving away from decades of blind allegiance to misinformation and unfair stigmas about cannabis. Research continues to show that it can be a beneficial, successful, and safe treatment option for a variety of diseases. Hopefully, this sign from the DEA will only encourage and allow for more studies into these aspects of the plant.