Trump’s Justice Department is obstructing opportunities for cannabis research


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions might not be on the scene anymore, but this doesn’t mean that cannabis research has sped up in his absence.  

President Donald Trump could be just as much to blame for the lack of cannabis research in the U.S. It seems that the Trump Administration is not the slightest bit interested in digging deeper to discover the cannabis plant’s therapeutic potential.

Sessions stepped down from his role as Attorney General at the beginning of November. Since he has been gone, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has failed to approve cultivation licenses for research purposes. In fact, 25 applications are reportedly still awaiting review.

There are currently “no updates on this at the moment,” said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne in an interview with Vox. At the moment, the DEA is “still working through the process with the Department,” he says.

The DOJ’s delay in approving cannabis cultivation licenses could be attributed to the fact that the department is too busy focusing on other things to prioritize cannabis cultivation licensing.

Quality concerns regarding the University of Mississippi’s cannabis for research

Researchers have long criticized the quality of the cannabis available for research from the University of Mississippi. They blame the lack of medical cannabis research on the potency of the cannabis available at the Oxford-based public research university. Many cannabis researchers are adamant that the product is not potent enough for an accurate analysis to be conducted.

Providing cannabis growers with opportunities to cultivate weed will effectively encourage them to learn more about the therapeutic leafy green plant and its place in the pharmaceutical. Since more precise research is required in the U.S. for cannabis to be legalized at the federal level, broadening the cultivation opportunities could be a good first step to understanding cannabis’ medical potential.

Will Sessions’ replacement be able to resolve America’s cannabis research conundrum?

William Barr is the man replacing Jeff Sessions. He previously served as Attorney General between 1991 and 1993. Although Barr isn’t overly supportive of legal cannabis, he will likely do more good for cannabis research than his pot-opposing predecessor.

Then again, he was recently branded a “biased defender of the administration” by House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y). Since the Trump administration has been so slow off the mark with instigating cannabis research, a “biased defender” might not be the best person to get the ball rolling.