The Drug Enforcement Agency announced that it intends to adopt rules for growing marijuana that will be used in medical and scientific research. The DEA will adopt these regulations prior to approving applications from companies to manufacture bulk quantities of marijuana. Notice was provided so that companies can withdraw previously submitted applications in light of the new rules or if the DEA’s approval of the application is no longer needed as hemp is now legal.
Companies can register as a manufacture bulk quantities of marijuana for DEA registered researchers. If approved, the growers may not engage in any other activities. The DEA evaluates that applications by ensuring that the company complies with all laws and regulations, and that the company has sufficient controls to prevent diversion. The DEA will only register the number of applicants needed to maintain a steady supply of marijuana that is needed for research.
The DEA received 33 applications to date, and expects to begin the Notice of Applications. Given the large number of applicants, the DEA worked with the Department of Justice and other federal agencies to revise internal policies and procedures related to the marijuana grower program. The DEA will replace the 2016 marijuana grower policy with the new robust rules.
The DEA’s rules will be a first set of federal regulations that oversee the cultivation of marijuana. We will soon see whether they closely resemble the USDA’s regulations for hemp cultivation, and whether the states will adopt the rule’s requirements.