DEA Asks NIDA To Grow 1,450 Pounds Of Cannabis For 2016

By John Lavitt 10/13/15

Turns out NIDA is the only agency allowed to study weed.


As published in the Federal Register by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the federal government is aiming to grow 658,000 grams of cannabis for the 2016 quota or just over 1,450 pounds of marijuana. This large total is more than three times the amount the DEA initially projected for 2016. At the same time, it is equal to the quota for 2015. The decision by the DEA to maintain the quota came after the agency received warnings from manufacturers.

According to the federal notice, public comments from licensed manufacturers warned that the initially proposed quotas for marijuana and some other controlled substances “were insufficient to provide for the estimated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States, export requirements, and the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.”

Marijuana for research purposes in the United States is only available via the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIDA has an exclusive contract with the University of Mississippi to grow, process, store, and supply cannabis to scientists. Chuck Rosenberg, the DEA’s acting administrator, explains that the high quota is in part a response to concerns that the research supply of controlled substances needs to have a sufficient reserve amount.

“This would be concerning if a natural disaster or other unforeseen event resulted in substantial disruption to the amount of controlled substances available to provide for legitimate public need,” Rosenberg wrote. “As such, the DEA has included in all established schedule II aggregate production quotas, and certain schedule I aggregate production quotas, an additional 25% of the estimated medical, scientific, and research needs as part of the amount necessary to ensure the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks."

The DEA has made it something of a habit to continually increase its marijuana quota amounts. For 2015, it initially proposed a limit of 125,000 grams. The agency then increased the projection to 400,000 grams before finally settling on a total of 658,000 grams for the year. In 2014, the agency oversaw a huge increase from an initial proposed amount of 21,000 grams to a total 650,000 grams. Given the current political climate, why the agency would believe the quota could be dropped remains unexplained.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.