Fed­eral pot pro­duc­tion surg­ing this year

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Pro­duc­tion will be high, so to speak, at the na­tion’s only fed­er­ally sanc­tioned mar­i­juana farm this year. The Na­tional In­sti­tute on Drug Abuse has re­quested 1,400 pounds of pot for re­search this year, up from the 46 pounds re­quired an­nu­ally from 2010 to 2013, ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les Times.

The 12-acre farm at the Univer­sity of Mis­sis­sippi in Ox­ford has held the NIDA con­tract for sup­ply­ing re­search-grade mar­i­juana since 1968. The stash at Ole Miss is the only source of cannabis for med­i­cal re­search, and sci­en­tists must have Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­proval on all projects.

The Mar­i­juana Project “has pro­vided mar­i­juana and its com­pounds to re­searchers around the coun­try con­duct­ing HHS-ap­proved stud­ies of the plant, its chem­i­cal com­po­nents, and their po­ten­tial ben­e­fi­cial and harm­ful ef­fects,” ac­cord­ing to the Ole Miss web­site. Mah­moud ElSohly is di­rec­tor of the project, which also tests the po­tency of mar­i­juana seized by law en­force­ment agen­cies. That con­tra­band cannabis fills an im­pos­ing steel vault in the Coy W. Waller Lab­o­ra­tory Com­plex.

But don’t ex­pect the lab to test the po­tency of mar­i­juana from le­gal dis­pen­saries in states that have le­gal­ized med­i­cal or recre­ational mar­i­juana.

“I would very much like to be able to get some of the ma­te­ri­als avail­able in dis­pen­saries, look at them, an­a­lyze them, com­pare them with ev­ery­thing else around,” ElSohly told the Times. “But I was cat­e­gor­i­cally told by the DEA, ‘You can­not re­ceive ma­te­ri­als from a non-DEA reg­is­trant.’ ”

But times used to be even higher at Ole Miss. Ac­cord­ing the Fed­eral Reg­is­ter, the gov­ern­ment re­quested 9,921 pounds an­nu­ally from 2005 to 2009, which was a steep hike from about 1,500 pounds OK’d for 2002 through 2004.

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