Pass Pot Research Around

When the federal Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a request for proposals, seeking competitive applications for the production, analysis and distribution of “marijuana cigarettes,” the request might have seemed a bit unusual to those unfamiliar with Washington’s dance around cannabis research. The federal government, after all, is not widely known to support marijuana cultivation.

But those in the know just shrugged. The department has issued similar requests every few years to select a contractor to conduct government-approved marijuana research, and with depressing regularity it has then awarded an exclusive contract to the University of Mississippi. For 40 years now, Washington has sought such “competitive applications” and Mississippi “wins” every time.

This rigged contest has successfully thwarted meaningful academic inquiry into marijuana’s medicinal value, without which the debate over its efficacy is bound to endure. Other studies — not conducted by the University of Mississippi — have suggested that marijuana has therapeutic value. But because the United States has discouraged such research and made it legally difficult to undertake, these studies have been limited in scope. What’s missing is the broad research analyzing the cultivation and properties of different strains and their effects on a variety of illnesses. For example, a strain of cannabis that is most effective with glaucoma may not be the same strain best suited to cancer patients.

Even if the university were running a perfect program, one institution cannot fulfill the country’s research needs. In February 2007, when Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner recommended that the Drug Enforcement Administration grant a license to cultivate marijuana for research purposes to a botanist at the University of Massachusetts, she said she had concluded that the supply of marijuana from the University of Mississippi program was of insufficient quality and quantity for research purposes.

The deadline for this latest round of applications is Oct. 9. The government should take the opportunity to break the University of Mississippi’s monopoly and choose a different institution. That step alone would be a sign that the Obama administration will prioritize science over politics. Merely shifting the contract from one institution to another, however, won’t change the status quo. That will only happen when the federal government changes policy and awards multiple contracts for this important research.

– Article from Los Angeles Times.



  1. one12alpha on

    To true my friend. To true….I can’t even add to what you’ve said. You hit the target dead on.

  2. Anonymous on

    “a sign that the ______ administration will prioritize ______ over politics.”

    not gonna happen

    because we keep voting for parties and not people, we vote for their leaders, we allow these stupid campaigns to make us all forget about the little guys whose voices we should hear, but do not.

    we are so lazy that we won’t listen to the words of the people with the power to change, we pretend to believe every time that one man or woman can do it, the president, but it’s not true. We got the government we deserved for being politically apathetic; clearly we don’t want to be involved.

    I mean, if you vote for entire parties of mindless drones and expect them all to be identical, they are only going to share the truthful ideas they have with one another. They are going to lie to you or spin crap on you or whatever they feel like saying.

    If you listen to these particular things they are saying instead and allow it to influence your vote for them and your support for their party, then the right people will end up working together. But Americans just can’t make themselves care about anything that much.

  3. Thuroughgood on

    I bet the Custodian(janitor if you want to be a dick about it) doesnt want them to change institutions!