Since 1968 the DEA has upheld that international treaty obligations mandate that the agency can license no more than one entity to cultivate marijuana for research purposes. The Univ. of Mississippi has been the single entity allowed to cultivate marijuana for research in the US, but a new correspondence from the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement may challenge this antiquated system.
In 2011, the DEA ignored a ruling from its own law judge in order to continue its oversight on the government’s apparent marijuana monopoly. Originally, in 2007, Judge Mary Ellen Bittner argued that allowing the private cultivation of marijuana for research was in the “public’s best interest”, but the DEA disagreed.
The 2011 ruling from Judge Bittner was spurred by the University of Massachusetts’ request to cultivate and research cannabis. The DEA had originally rejected the request in 2004, but Judge Bittner challenged their decision. A deeper look at the DEA’s decision to reject the University of Mass’ Request reveals what could be considered personal conflicts.
The non-profit organization MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) intended to underwrite the University of Massachusetts cannabis research program, but former DEA director Michelle Leonhart stood in their way. The organization’s director, Rick Doblin, also sat on the board of NORML and previously declared himself a marijuana user. Because of his admitted use of marijuana, Leonhart nixed the entire application.
It is simply inconceivable that DEA would … grant a registration to engage in certain activities involving controlled substances where it is clear that a person who will have any role in the oversight and management of such activities … engages in the illegal use of controlled substances. – Leonhart
Seems to me that a NORML board member and admitted marijuana user would be an ideal candidate to lead marijuana research- but who am I to advise the DEA? Regardless, Leonhart is retired and the truth about this incident is now coming to light.
The DEA has consistently cited the Single Convention (treaty) as the reason for allowing only one government sanctioned cannabis research operation, but it has been deceivingly incorrect.
In a recent correspondence from the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement to Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D–NY), the Bureau makes it clear that the federal government could legally issue multiple cannabis cultivation licenses.
If a party to the Single Convention issued multiple licenses for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, that fact alone would not be a sufficient basis to conclude that the party was acting in contravention of the Convention. – State Department Bureau
Now that the State Department has confirmed this treaty should not be a barrier to expanding research, the DEA should issue new licenses to supply medical researchers and stop letting antiquated ideology stand in the way of modern medical science. – Senator Gilbert’s reply
There you have it- evidence that the DEA has been purposely preventing expanded cannabis research efforts. The DEA has a rocky history with marijuana, but it looks like the green stuff could end up having the last laugh. Whether it is DEA agents stealing marijuana from evidence rooms, eating edibles on the job, or simply lying about cannabis laws, one thing is certain, the DEA is successfully discrediting themselves as the proper authority for drug enforcement.
What do you think about the DEA’s lies and antics? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.