Friday, December 13, 2019
Eight Senators (all Dems) write to federal agencies inquiring about efforts to advance medical marijuana research
This webpage with the heading “Senators Request Update from Federal Agencies on Progress Towards Issuing Long-Delayed Licensing of Marijuana Manufacturing for Research Purposes” reports on a notable new letter from some federal lawmakers. Here are the basics:
United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), requesting an update on the progress of the federal government’s efforts to facilitate research on medical marijuana by issuing needed manufacturing licenses. The senators seek guidance on how the DEA will make these licenses available to qualified researchers in a timely manner given that the federal government has a unique responsibility to coordinate medical marijuana research efforts — and has delayed issuing these licenses in the past.
“With millions of American adults having access to recreational marijuana and a growing number seeking the drug for medicinal purposes, the federal government is not providing the necessary leadership and tools in this developing field,” wrote the lawmakers. “Evidence-based public policy is crucial to ensuring our marijuana laws best serve patients and health care providers.”
The lawmakers have requested responses no later than January 10, 2020, to better understand both the DEA’s decision-making, and its work with HHS and ONDCP to expand medical marijuana research. “This research is crucial to developing a thorough understanding of medical marijuana and would be invaluable to doctors, patients, and lawmakers across the nation,” wrote the lawmakers.
The full letter is available at this link, and it starts this way:
We write to inquire about your respective agencies’ ongoing efforts with regard to scientific research on the potential health and therapeutic benefits of marijuana when used for medical purposes (“medical marijuana”). In light of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) most recent announcement that it will issue additional marijuana manufacturing licenses for research purposes — an announcement that comes three years after a similar yet unfulfilled DEA commitment — we are also requesting written guidance on how the DEA will make these licenses available to qualified researchers in a timely manner.