The Drug Enforcement Administration has approved an increase in the federal research marijuana quota from 21 kilograms to 650 kilograms this year, reports the Washington Post. With 21 states and the Washington, D.C., having legalized the drug for medicinal needs, and two states allowing it for recreational use, the demand for research has mushroomed. “The aggregate production quota for marijuana should be increased in order to provide a continuous and uninterrupted supply of marijuana in support of DEA-registered researchers who are approved by the Federal Government to utilize marijuana in their research protocols,” the agency said.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) oversees the federal government's pot supply, grown since 1968 at the only legal farm, at the University of Mississippi. The agency has faced criticism for funding projects that examine the drug's risks rather than its benefits. Interests are shifting, and many more grant requests have been approved, jumping from 22 federally funded marijuana and cannabis projects in 2003 to 69 in 2012. “It's important that researchers have the tools available to study the impact of these changing laws,” said Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project. “For too long NIDA and the DEA have obstructed this vital research, and I applaud both agencies for this change of course.”