Agencies announced they would begin to issue these licenses in 2016, delayed, and made a similar announcement again in 2019
"Evidence-based public policy is crucial to ensuring our marijuana laws best serve patients and health care providers"
Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), requesting an update on the progress of the federal government's efforts to facilitate research on medical marijuana by issuing needed manufacturing licenses. The senators seek guidance on how the DEA will make these licenses available to qualified researchers in a timely manner given that the federal government has a unique responsibility to coordinate medical marijuana research efforts -- and has delayed issuing these licenses in the past.
"With millions of American adults having access to recreational marijuana and a growing number seeking the drug for medicinal purposes, the federal government is not providing the necessary leadership and tools in this developing field," wrote the lawmakers. "Evidence-based public policy is crucial to ensuring our marijuana laws best serve patients and health care providers."
The lawmakers have requested responses no later than January 10, 2020, to better understand both the DEA's decision-making, and its work with HHS and ONDCP to expand medical marijuana research.
"This research is crucial to developing a thorough understanding of medical marijuana and would be invaluable to doctors, patients, and lawmakers across the nation," wrote the lawmakers.
Senator Warren led similar letters to the agencies in July 2015, December 2015, and June 2016 requesting information on their efforts to facilitate government research on marijuana, highlighting the need for the federal government's need to take leadership and encourage cannabis research and to issue additional licenses for production for such purposes. Senator Warren has also called for the rescheduling of marijuana.