Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who transitioned from a Senate seat to head honcho at the U.S. Department of Justice, is preventing cannabis research from moving forward, according to a recent report from the Washington Post.
Last year, shortly after refusing, once again, to reschedule the cannabis plant, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it would allow other growers (other than the University of Mississippi) to get involved in the cultivation of research marijuana. Yet, so far, the agency has not been able to put this plan into action because the Justice Department has apparently refused to give the matter the necessary approval.
“They’re sitting on it,” a law enforcement official close to the situation told the Post. “They just will not act on these things.”
Despite the fact that there are now 25 organizations waiting for a shot to grow weed to be used for research, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program,” said an official with the DEA.
The scientific community has complained for decades that it next to impossible to conduct important research with respect to the cannabis plant because of all of the federal red tape – and this includes the inability to get their hands on enough research marijuana.
As it stands, the University of Mississippi is the only approved governmental grow operation in the entire country. But researchers have complained that the their herb is subpar and relatively worthless in comparison to the product being grown and sold in legal states.
Several studies hoping to learn more about the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant have been stalled due to this flawed system.
Although it comes as no surprise that Sessions, a man who wholeheartedly believes that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” is looking for every opportunity to sabotage the progress of marijuana in the United States, his staunch, anti-pot position actually goes against the grain of job description as Attorney General.
Last week, public policy expert W. David Bradford told NPR’s On Point that the language of the Controlled Substances Act makes it the attorney general’s “responsibility to assess the scientific evidence and decide whether drugs like cannabis should stay on the schedule that they are on.”
Bradford said that rather than working against legalization, Sessions should be giving serious consideration to the scientific evidence and working to push the issue to higher ground.
But that is not happening.
It should be noted that the Justice Department has not denied the 25 proposals it has received from additional growers. The department has simply refused to give them any consideration at all so far.