The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is aiming to increase the amount of cannabis that is grown for research purposes by 30 percent. This significant increase would amount from approximately 5,401.33 pounds this year to approximately 7,054.79 pounds in 2020, according to a news release published on Thursday. The influx of cannabis production will meet the growing demand for cannabis to be used for important research studies. The 2020 amount would triple that of 2018.
According to Forbes, this will amount to 3,200,000 grams of cannabis being legally grown at the direction of the DEA. The DEA annually determines what amount of controlled substances will be manufactured with the intention “to provide for the estimated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States, lawful export requirements and the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.”
As more public universities are being approved to conduct cannabis research, the DEA is making sure there is enough product available to them. “This will meet the need created by the increase in the amount of approved research involving marijuana,” the DEA stated 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.”
In the same release, the DEA also proposed to reduce the amount of five different opioids that will be manufactured in 2020. “DEA proposes to reduce the amount of fentanyl produced by 31 percent, hydrocodone by 19 percent, hydromorphone by 25 percent, oxycodone by nine percent and oxymorphone by 55 percent,” the DEA stated. “Combined with morphine, the proposed quota would be a 53 percent decrease in the amount of allowable production of these opioids since 2016.”
This new proposal by the DEA reflects the nation’s plea to continue studying cannabis as a replacement for dangerous opioids.