DEA Advances Efforts to Approve Cannabis Cultivation Applications
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DEA Advances Efforts to Approve Cannabis Cultivation Applications

The DEA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend its regulations to comply with the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act in an effort to move forward with cannabis cultivation for research purposes.

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March 23, 2020

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend its regulations to comply with the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act in an effort to approve pending cannabis cultivation applications and allow entities to move forward with cultivation for research purposes.

Public comment must be submitted electronically or postmarked on or before May 22, according to the notice.

The notice signals that the DEA is starting a formal investigation—called a 303 investigation—to vet the 35 entities that have applied for a cultivation license to grow cannabis for research, according to a Forbes report.

Last summer, a federal court ordered the DEA to explain why it had not responded to the pending applications after Dr. Sue Sisley and the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and the DEA in June 2019. Phoenix-based SRI had applied for a DEA manufacturing license in 2016 to grow its own cannabis for an ongoing study on medical cannabis as a treatment for veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In August 2019, the DEA entered a filing in the Federal Register indicating that it intended to establish regulations to evaluate the applications and the federal court dismissed Sisley’s lawsuit.

Some companies, including Colorado-based MedPharm, then received word from the DEA that they had been selected to move forward in the application process to grow cannabis for research purposes.