Cannabis research is necessary and requests by both opponents and proponents of legal marijuana are very loud. One of the biggest opponents to legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use is Representative Harris of Maryland, and he is even pushing for marijuana to be removed as a Schedule 1 drug simply so that more research can be conducted on the plant to prove his theory that marijuana has no medical value.
Despite the logic of researching a plant that has become legal in 29 states, Jeff Sessions is blind about his bias against cannabis. The DEA has proposals it is ready to move forward with to research cannabis but is waiting for the Department of Justice to grant them permission. How can scientific research and knowledge be so disregarded by Jeff Sessions?
The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has effectively blocked the Drug Enforcement Administration from taking action on more than two dozen requests to grow marijuana to use in research, one of a number of areas in which the anti-drug agency is at odds with the Trump administration, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.
A year ago, the DEA began accepting applications to grow more marijuana for research, and as of this month, had 25 proposals to consider. But DEA officials said they need the Justice Department’s sign-off to move forward, and so far, the department has not been willing to provide it.
“They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.”
As a result, said one senior DEA official, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.”
DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said the agency “has always been in favor of enhanced research for controlled substances such as marijuana.” Lauren Ehrsam, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment.
The standoff is the latest example of the nation’s premier narcotics enforcement agency finding itself in disagreement with the new administration. While President Trump and Sessions have vowed a crackdown on drugs and violent crime, DEA officials have publicly and privately questioned some of the administration’s statements and goals.
Late last month, Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote in an email to staff members that President Trump had “condoned police misconduct” in remarking to officers in Long Island that they need not protect suspects’ heads when putting them into police vehicles. The DEA administrator said he was writing his employees “because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.” After public criticism, White House officials said the president was joking.
DEA officials say Sessions and his Justice Department have pressed the agency for action specifically on MS-13, despite warnings from Rosenberg and others at the DEA that the gang, which draws from Central American teenagers for most of its recruits, is not one of the biggest players when it comes to distributing and selling narcotics.
Mexican cartels, DEA officials have warned, will use any gang to sell their drugs, and DEA leaders have directed those in their field offices to focus on the biggest threat in their particular geographic area. In many parts of the country, MS-13 simply does not pose a major criminal or drug dealing threat compared to other groups, these officials said.