The U.S. government is expanding the number of businesses that can grow marijuana for study after a long delay under the Trump administration, reports the Wall Street Journal. A Drug Enforcement Administration rule made public Thursday means researchers will be able to study marijuana from more than one federally sanctioned grower, a farm at the University of Mississippi, which the government has for decades considered the only legal source of marijuana for federal research. “This action enables us to finally produce federally legal cannabis for scientists and doctors,” said George Hodgin, an ex-Navy SEAL who started a research business in Monterey, Ca., calling the move “the most meaningful cannabis policy reform at the federal level in six decades.”
DEA began seeking applications for more marijuana growers in August 2016, saying it wanted to expand research into the potential medical uses of marijuana. The agency said it was complying with federal law in its push to expand study of pot, which remains federally prohibited even as more states legalize it. Forty-one applicants have submitted requests to grow marijuana for research since then, but their applications went unanswered under the Trump administration. Officials including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime marijuana critic, said the DEA’s program violated a 1961 United Nations treaty that aimed to curb drug trafficking. DEA says the new rules are consistent with that treaty.