Feds Announce Plan To Continue Marijuana Manufacturing Monopoly, At Least For Now

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The federal monopoly on growing marijuana for research would continue under a contract extension published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) last week. In a “pre-solicitation non-competitive” notice, the federal agency announced its intent to award a “award a sole source modification” contract to the University of Mississippi—the only facility in the country that’s been authorized to manufacture cannabis products for use in studies since the late 1960s. The problem, as far as researchers are concerned, is that the quality of the government’s marijuana is inadequate. In fact, a study found that the cannabis it produces is more chemically similar to hemp than marijuana that’s available in state-legal commercial markets. That raises questions about the real-world applicability of studies that rely on NIDA’s supply. The proposal would extend the university’s contract from March 2021 to 2022, “with a potential option for an additional 12 months.” The new filing comes as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has delayed plans to license additional cannabis manufacturers to supply researchers. “Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements,” NIDA said in the new notice. That one supplier will continue to be the University of Mississippi, as the agency stipulated that it will not be “providing for full and open competition” in determining who gets to grow the only federally approved cannabis for use in research. NIDA, whose director conceded that marijuana’s Schedule I status impedes research in congressional hearing last year, said the latest decision to limit its search is based on “market research.” “This synopsis is not a request for competitive proposals,” the notice says. “However, interested parties may identify their interest and capability to respond to this notice.” Any responses must be received by December 22. DEA announced four years ago that it would…

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Source : Feds Announce Plan To Continue Marijuana Manufacturing Monopoly, At Least For Now

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