Colorado has asked the federal government to allow the state’s colleges to grow marijuana for research purposes. (As if multiple dorm closets aren’t already.)
“Current research is riddled with bias or insufficiencies and often conflict with one another,” Deputy Attorney General David Blake wrote in his letter to federal health and education officials. “It is critical that we be allowed to fill the void of scientific research, and this may only be done with your assistance and cooperation.”
While weed has been legal in the rocky mountain state for just over a year now, it is still federally classified as a Schedule I drug. For Colorado colleges to gain permission to grow and research marijuana on campus, the state must first obtain long-shot approval from multiple federal agencies — and we all know bureaucratic hoop-jumping isn’t the timeliest of activities.
As of now, if an institute wants to conduct cannabis research, it must first be approved by the necessary federal departments. If approved, the marijuana itself must be supplied by the federal government’s one validated pot farm and comes in just a few limited forms. All federal weed granted to research institutes is grown exclusively by the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research. Because of an international treaty signed by the U.S., just one ‘scholastic institute’ may cultivate marijuana for research purposes in the nation.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently put the federal marijuana cultivation contract up for rebid, which explains Colorado’s letter. While it does make sense for the state that’s led the fight for legalization to grow the nation’s federal weed, it seems ridiculous that scientists should be so restricted in their quest for understanding the science of what's become one of the most hot-button topics in the country. The better we understand something, the less we fear it. Scientific data and national education are what will lead to the end of this Reefer Madness era, and in turn prohibition. We need all the research we can get.