The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has blocked the Drug Enforcement Administration from taking action on more than two dozen requests to grow marijuana to use in research, one of a number of areas in which the anti-drug agency is at odds with the Trump administration, the Washington Post reports. A year ago, the DEA began accepting applications to grow more marijuana for research. As of this month, it had 25 proposals to consider. DEA officials said they need the parent Justice Department’s approval to move forward. So far, the department has not been willing to provide it. “They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official. “They just will not act on these things.”
One senior DEA official said, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.’’ DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said the agency “has always been in favor of enhanced research for controlled substances such as marijuana.’’ The standoff is the latest example of the premier narcotics enforcement agency’s finding itself in disagreement with the new administration. While President Trump and Sessions have vowed a crackdown on drugs and violent crime, DEA officials have publicly and privately questioned some of the administration’s statements and goals.