People that read the press release set to be published in the Federal Register soon by the DEA may roll their eyes. It is the same story from the DEA on how they are going to expand the amount of federally grown marijuana for research purposes. In particular, the expansion of the cultivators may draw the most skepticism since they were supposed to add more cultivators last year but have ignored the over 24 applications in their possession for cultivator licenses. The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has had a lot to do with the DEA not following through on processing the applications and is well know for his ant-marijuana stance.
The press release will also address the opioid epidemic calling for a reduction of drugs like oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and the other highly addictive pharmaceutical being produced that have harshly contributed to the rising rate of overdose deaths here in the United States. AG Sessions commented, “the opioid epidemic that we are facing today is the worst drug crisis in American history… Cutting opioid production quotas by an average of ten percent next year will help us continue that progress and make it harder to divert these drugs for abuse.” The Justice Department has no choice but to take some more drastic measures to fight the opioid epidemic as the rate of addiction and overdose deaths has remained unabated by their efforts thus far.
“We’ve lost too many lives to the opioid epidemic and families and communities suffer tragic consequences every day,” DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon said in a press release. “This significant drop in prescriptions by doctors and DEA’s production quota adjustment will continue to reduce the amount of drugs available for illicit diversion and abuse while ensuring that patients will continue to have access to proper medicine.”
Cannabis advocates argue that marijuana legalization may be able to play a vital role in reducing the amount of opioid-based prescription drugs patients around the country are taking to combat chronic pain, depression, digestive problems along with a myriad of other conditions. 30 states in the U.S. have now either implemented or are in the process of implementing a medical marijuana program and while some states are simply leaving it to doctors to decide if medical marijuana is right for a patient, most states list qualifying conditions which have traditionally been treated by prescription drugs, many of them opioid-based. However, many medical professionals are still unwilling to accept the efficacy of marijuana as a treatment for these conditions until they can see advanced rigorous research proving marijuana’s usefulness, peer reviewed evidence and see cannabis removed from the Controlled Substance Act.
The proposed quotas for cannabis and other drugs “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,” DEA said.
The DEA will call for five times the amount of federally grown marijuana for the 2019 year than in 2018, for research purposes. The University of Mississippi facility that has been the only source for federally grown marijuana has been highly criticized for making cannabis very hard to attain for researchers and growing very poor quality cannabis as well. If the Attorney General permits more growers around the country in 2019, perhaps cannabis lab testing by the top minds in the country will finally happen, overcoming one of the largest hurdles to legalization the country has faced.