The DEA and their red tape… Where to begin? Once again, we will be looking at the amount of time they have wasted and dragged their feet so long that it has gotten to the point where two Rhode Island labs sued DEA over pending R&D applications. Is it because of the legalities surrounding the manufacture of cannabis products, or do they simply not care? Let’s look at what has been going on in Rhode Island and the implications of this hold-up.
The two cannabinoid research labs, both part of MMJ International Holdings, MMJ BioPharma Culture Inc. and MMJ BioPharma, are suing the DEA in response to what they call obstructing the development of pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis soft gel capsules to be used in clinical trials for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s Disease.
The labs have approached the court to compel the DEA to act on their requests for bulk manufacturing and importation of specified marijuana strains, alleging that the agency has failed to do so. The DEA has a history of missing deadlines when it comes to approving permits for cannabis manufacturing, and it is no secret that it has been dragging its feet from the start.
Inaction At Its Finest
One would think that the DEA would be rushing to get this kind of research and manufacturing off the ground, but not so much as you’ll see below. It is also worth bearing in mind that this isn’t the first time the DEA has been forced to respond to these allegations.
For MMJ to get FDA approval for their products, they need to provide reports and findings to the FDA. This can’t happen without the cannabis strains required. So the DEA needs to allow the import of cannabis strains and bulk production of products. According to the regulations, this shouldn’t take too long, right?
The labs have stated and confirmed that they meet all of the requirements for obtaining licenses and have followed all FDA rules for manufacturing pharmaceutical-grade soft gel capsules.
Over three years have passed since MMJ applied for the licenses and approval they need from the DEA to import and grow certain specific marijuana strains for their research. They are still waiting for an answer.
To put things in perspective; the US government states that “If an applicant seeks to manufacture a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance ‘for use only in a clinical trial,’ the Administrator will ‘issue a notice of application not later than 90 days after the application is accepted for filing.’
It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that the three-month deadline has been left in the dust.
Where Does This Leave The US In Terms Of The Global Cannabis Market?
Various sources anticipate that Europe will become the world’s largest legal cannabis market, with Europe continuing to represent the new frontier of medicinal and wellness innovations in the cannabis sector. With more and more countries around the world adopting a liberal attitude to the legalization of marijuana, the US is still floundering in the haze of old stereotypes.
Suppose the US doesn’t take a serious look at the dissonance between federal and state laws governing the supply and distribution of medical cannabis products. In that case, the US will be left behind as the rest of the world progresses and makes huge strides into the benefits of cannabis for medical reasons and how economies can also benefit from the emerging cannabis market.
The Last Drag
It would be funny if it weren’t so blatantly obvious that through their inaction, US federal departments are once again setting the US back years while the countries that have recognized the benefits carry on with their cannabis research and medical programs. Not only could MMJ’s R&D help the people who suffer from MS and Huntington’s Disease live fuller and happier lives, but the DEA’s repeated inaction will also affect other labs and producers from delivering equally important solutions to all kinds of illnesses.
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