December 12, 2019

Harris, Senators Request Update from Federal Agencies on Progress Towards Issuing Long-Delayed Licensing of Marijuana Manufacturing for Research Purposes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) on Thursday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), requesting an update on the progress of the federal government's efforts to facilitate research on medical marijuana by issuing needed manufacturing licenses. The senators seek guidance on how the DEA will make these licenses available to qualified researchers in a timely manner given that the federal government has a unique responsibility to coordinate medical marijuana research efforts – and has delayed issuing these licenses in the past.

"This research is crucial to developing a thorough understanding of medical marijuana and would be invaluable to doctors, patients, and lawmakers across the nation," wrote the lawmakers.

The lawmakers continued, "With millions of American adults having access to recreational marijuana and a growing number seeking the drug for medicinal purposes, the federal government is not providing the necessary leadership and tools in this developing field. Evidence-based public policy is crucial to ensuring our marijuana laws best serve patients and health care providers."

The lawmakers have requested responses no later than January 10, 2020, to better understand both the DEA's decision-making, and its work with HHS and ONDCP to expand medical marijuana research.

The full text of the letter is available here.

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