By Angela Underwood
The irony of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officially commissioning 3.2 million grams of weed be grown in 2020 is not such paradox in the new age of pot.
However, the deal to grow the drug is deferred, according to Joshua Horn, co-chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Fox Rothschild.
“I see the delayed reaction of the DEA as little more than foot-dragging against popular will for more meaningful testing of cannabis that would lead to true legal reform and possible legalization,” Horn said.
The DEA proposed increasing the amount of marijuana available for research by a third in 2020. The 3.2 million grams would be triple the amount grown for research in 2018.
“This will meet the need created by the increase in the amount of approved research involving marijuana,” the DEA said in a press release. “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.”
But Horn does not believe the timing of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, and the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act (SAFE) under consideration in Congress has anything to do with the DEA’s deal to grow more than three million grams of weed.
“I doubt that the pending legislation has had any impact on the timing,” he said. “These proposals and others have been floating around in some form for years.”
Not only have they floated, they are dead in the water, according to Horn.
“I do not see either piece of legislation having a chance of getting through the Senate, and with that said, the hope is that real research on cannabis will lead to further demand for cannabis reform on a federal level,” he said. “Although I hope I am wrong, that process could take years to complete.”
But don’t get Horn wrong, the DEA’s desire to research the drug is relevant among all the other agencies worldwide testing THC and CBD every day.
“It is in some ways more relevant because cannabis will not be rescheduled or de-scheduled without it,” Horn said.
In the end, the DEA beginning research is only a positive, he added.
“This is a start in the right direction for real cannabis reform on the federal level, assuming that this additional research leads to results that would support reform,” Horn said.