Federal pot production surging this year
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.