Groff North America is the first DEA-approved company to grow cannabis for medical research


A company based in York County, Pennsylvania, is attracting a surge of media attention… and for all of the right reasons.

Reports confirm that Groff North America is the first U.S. company to harvest cannabis crops for legal medical research purposes.

The announcement was made almost one year since the DEA revealed that it would start approving applications to federally authorize cannabis growers who wish to grow the plant for research purposes.

Although the DEA started requesting applications for new cannabis cultivators under the reign of President Barack Obama and the Trump administration, none of the agency’s requests had been approved.

To-date, just one cultivator at the University of Mississippi has been allowed to grow cannabis for federal research in the U.S. The educational institution got its hands on the license in 1968.

What is the significance of Groff North America’s research-grade cannabis harvesting efforts?

With the U.S. relying on the University of Mississippi as the sole cultivation source of research-grade cannabis for more than half a century, Groff’s DEA approval is being welcomed with open arms. 

What started out as a hemp company is just one of four in the U.S. to gain the agency’s approval. Groff’s first research-grade crops were unveiled last month. 

“For the first time, real-world cannabis will be available to researchers throughout the country,” said company founder and chief medical officer, Dr. Steven Groff. “We’re working with some of the top institutions in America in providing new types of material that heretofore wasn’t available from Mississippi.”

Groff made a point of noting that the research material includes vapes and oil-based products. These types of products are currently being made available across 37 U.S. states that have, so far, introduced legal medical cannabis programs.

“Medical cannabis has really exploded in America over the last 25 years,” Groff continued, adding that, “the horse has left the barn, and America has decided it wants access to cannabis in one way or another. The [federal] government needs to really catch up as does the scientific community.”

Groff North America’s research-grade cannabis was bought back from DEA

The transfer of Groff’s first federally-authorized yield was submitted to the DEA, before being bought back and sold on to medical researchers. It occured on Feb. 2. No other transaction of this kind has involved the federal government and a for-profit business.

We see a number of opportunities to provide revenue, and then ultimately our long-term play is to be a pharmaceutical manufacturer of a number of cannabis-based drugs,” said Groff, who feels that the process was completely worth it, despite the expensive compliance costs.

Moving forwards, Groff North America’s future cannabis research efforts will focus on cannabinoids for MRSA; in particular, the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG).

“It’s a powerful plant. It’s an amazing plant,” Groff said. “But there’s so much more we can do with it once we begin to really look at the data and maximize its potential.”