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Washington, DC—US Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a follow up letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding the pending applications for additional manufacturers to supply marijuana for research. 

“Marijuana’s impacts are being felt every day across the country—with or without research.  It is imperative that our nation’s brightest scientists have access to diverse types of federally-approved, research-grade marijuana to research both its adverse and therapeutic effects. Such research is the critical foundation of sound policymaking that puts public health and safety first.” 

Background

 In April, Hatch and Harris sent a letter to Sessions, urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to cease efforts to slow medical marijuana research, following reports that the Department of Justice was blocking medical marijuana research efforts by delaying approvals for manufacturers growing research-grade medical marijuana. Click here for the full release.

Expanded research has been called for by President Trump’s Surgeon General, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the FDA, the CDC, the National Highway Safety Administration, the National Institute of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Academies of Sciences, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. There are currently two bipartisan bills before the Senate Judiciary Committee that would streamline the cumbersome process for researchers to receive federal permission to study marijuana.  

The full letter is included below:

 
The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
 
Dear Attorney General Sessions,
 
We write you to follow up on our letter, dated April 12, 2018, regarding the registration of marijuana manufacturers by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). We respectfully requested that you respond to our questions by May 15, 2018. More than four months have elapsed, and it is troubling that we have not yet received a written response.
 
Much has happened in the four months since we last wrote you. Most notably, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its first drug derived from marijuana, Epidiolex, which will bring relief to those who suffer from certain severe forms of epilepsy. But we also continue to hear stories that raise concern about the harms, including impaired driving, that can follow the increase in the availability of marijuana in many states.
 
Marijuana’s impacts are being felt every day across the country—with or without research.  It is imperative that our nation’s brightest scientists have access to diverse types of federally-approved, research-grade marijuana to research both its adverse and therapeutic effects. Such research is the critical foundation of sound policymaking that puts public health and safety first.
 
In testimony before Congress, you agreed that “it would be healthy to have some more competition in the supply” of marijuana for research purposes and pledged to register additional suppliers “fairly soon.”  More than two years after the DEA “adopt[ed] a new policy . . . designed to increase the number of entities registered under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to grow (manufacture) marijuana to supply legitimate researchers,” it is time to put a date on when the DEA will take action on the more than two dozen pending applications. Please advise the date by which you expect the DEA will act on the pending applications.  We trust that you are prioritizing the processing of these applications to ensure that date is “fairly soon.”
 
The favor of your reply is expected by September 28, 2018, as August 11, 2018 marked two years of inaction by the DEA in response to its own announced policy.
 
 
  

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