In a move that’s sure to lift some moods in these trying times, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced that it will be taking steps to expand the scope of marijuana research. The rule changes proposed by the agency will allow it to approve additional cannabis growers and diversify the types of marijuana available for use in studies.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to support additional research into marijuana and its components, and we believe registering more growers will advance the scientific and medical research already being conducted,” said the Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a press release.

“DEA is making progress to register additional marijuana growers for federally authorized research, and will continue to work with other relevant federal agencies to expedite the necessary next steps.”

Back in 2016, the DEA announced that it was accepting applications for additional marijuana manufacturers, and 37 institutions submitted their applications. However, the agency was slow to review the applications, and one of the applicants filed and won a lawsuit that mandated the DEA to take action.

The DEA argued that the high volume of applications, coupled with the complications arising from international drug treaties which the U.S. is a party to, meant they would have to develop new regulations before approving the applications.

“This is an important step and a byproduct of the legal action we filed last summer. The agency indicated it would propose new rules to govern approving new applicants to manufacture marijuana for research, and these appear to be those rules,” says Sue Sisley, a researcher with the institution that filed the lawsuit.

For countries growing cannabis for research to comply with United Nations rules, they have to meet five requirements. Currently, the DEA follows three of the requirements, but the proposed rule would amend the agency’s regulations so that the DEA directly carries out the two remaining requirements.

They are; requiring cultivators to deliver their cannabis directly to a government agency in a timely manner, but no longer than four months after harvest, and; ensuring that the agency holds the “exclusive rights of importing, exporting, wholesale trading, and maintaining stocks of cannabis and cannabis resin,” except as it concerns medical marijuana preparations.

As per the DEA’s notice, the agency “may accept delivery and maintain possession of such crops at the registered location of the registered manufacturer authorized to cultivate cannabis consistent with the maintenance of effective controls against diversion.”

The notice states that in such cases, the DEA shall designate a secure storage mechanism at the registered location in which the DEA may maintain possession of the cannabis, and the DEA will control access to the stored cannabis.” It will also control importing, exporting, wholesale trading, and maintaining stocks, and it may “exercise its exclusive rights by authorizing the performance of such activities by appropriately registered persons.”

This news that more growers are about to be federally licensed is likely to be welcomed by sector players like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) who would like to see more research being done by the academia and other entities whose findings will not be doubted by the public.

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