Although cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the organization still wants to cultivate almost 1,000 pounds in 2018.
The DEA released a proposal on November 8 asking permission to grow about 978 pounds (443,680 grams) of cannabis next year as they see that amount as necessary 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.”
Since 1968, the only legal source of cannabis for research is a farm that the University of Mississippi operates under the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Scientists have said that not only is it difficult to obtain product from the facility, it’s also usually low quality cannabis. The DEA has also moved to end the monopoly on cultivation and license more cultivators to facilitate research.
While 978 pounds is a lot of cannabis, it’s actually less than what the DEA had asked for last year, when they asked for permission to grow 1,400 pounds.
In addition to cannabis, the DEA will also allow for the production of 384,460 grams of THC in 2018. The order also proposes quotas of 92,120 grams of cocaine, 40 grams of LSD, 45 grams of heroin, and 30 grams of psilocybin in addition to many other various drugs.
The proposed reduction for 2018 seems to be counterintuitive, as the DEA has previously called for more research on cannabis. An increased supply would pave the way for more research. The reduction could reflect the fact that the Trump administration has not expressed interest in more studies on cannabis. Still, this slight move toward acceptance on the part of the DEA, however small, still provides hope to the cannabis community.