The cannabis community would like to think that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was solely responsible for sandbagging medical marijuana research, but it turns out that the Trump Administration, as a whole, really just doesn’t give two flying squirts about developing a functional program that allows scientists to dig deeper into the therapeutic potential of this plant.
Although the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a few years back that it would license more cannabis growers that just the University of Mississippi to produce research marijuana, the agency still hasn’t made good on its promise. The concept of putting on new pot farmers sort of came to a screeching halt after President Trump appointed Jeff Sessions as the leading law enforcement hammer of the United States. Without so much as a word on the matter, Sessions, who wore his aversion to marijuana on his sleeve, shelved the application process until further notice.
Everyone understood this meant indefinitely.
But Sessions has been out for a while now, and the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) still hasn’t taken any strides with respect to the approval of more cultivation licenses. There are reportedly 25 applications sitting in a file cabinet somewhere just waiting for the clearance to go to work, but that doesn’t appear likely to happen anytime soon. There are “no updates on this at the moment,” DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told Vox. The agency is “still working through the process with the Department.”
It could be argued (not by us but by somebody) that the Justice Department has just been too wrapped up in other business to make marijuana licensing a priority. There is all of this noise over whether President Trump conspired with the Russians during the 2016 election, not to mention the recent battle over whether he is actually permitted to block his haters from Twitter. So, it is easy to see that the DOJ is far too busy saving the president’s tail to get serious about growing more weed in the U.S.
But it needs to.
Researchers have complained for years that the quality of the University of Mississippi’s pot is one of the main reasons there are all of these unanswered questions regarding the medicinal value of the cannabis plant. They have referred to the product as “green dust,” and even claimed that it doesn’t have the potency needed for a proper analysis.
Opening the scene up to more qualified cannabis growers is the first step in learning more about the cannabis plant. And more accurate research is definitely needed.
There are so many conflicting reports right now over the pros and cons of cannabis that the time has come when the federal government should be clearing the way, by any means necessary, to finds answers. But it is not.
There is hope that Sessions’ replacement, William Barr, might step up and remedy the situation. While he is not necessarily in favor of legalization, he has taken a much more progressive approach to the subject than his predecessor.
But we’re talking about the Trump administration here. If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of years it’s that there will always be something louder to take precedence over real progress.