Congressmen ‘Deeply Troubled’ by DEA and HHS Implementation of Cannabis Research Act


The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have come under fire from lawmakers for their ‘unacceptable’ implementation of a cannabis research act.

US representatives Earl Blumenauer and Andy Harris, who co-sponsored the ‘Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act’, which was passed into law in December 2022, have accused the regulators of failing to enact the bill’s core aspects.

The act was intended to remove barriers encountered by researchers intending to study cannabis, and streamline the process of having such research approved by the federal government.

Despite being passed with bipartisan support, the DEA and HHS have failed to provide a report detailing the federal barriers to research by the December 02, 2023, deadline as directed by the bill.

Furthermore, in a letter penned to the heads of both regulatory bodies, the congressmen argue that they are routinely failing to respond to research requests within the timelines stipulated by law.

According to the act, the Attorney General has no more than 60 days to approve an application or request additional information.

However, the congressmen point out that: “More than 150 pending research applications for studies into cannabis and related products have yet to receive an approval or denial … and many more researchers are excluded through the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) licensing process, which has not been adequately updated.”

“We are deeply troubled by recent reporting that the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act is not being implemented in line with congressional intent. It is unacceptable that researchers continue to face harmful barriers to cannabis research after Congress expressly encouraged research into this substance,” the pair continued.

Noting the number of barriers that still exist, Blumenauer and Harris say this shows ‘ineffective implementation’ of the act and have called on the DEA and HHS to respond to a number of questions regarding the overdue report and what action is being taken to process applications.


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