Uncle Sam's Pot Farm Maintains Its Monopoly

The Associated Press reports that University of Massachusetts horiticulturist Lyle Craker is giving up his nine-year fight to break the federal government's monopoly on the production of marijuana for research purposes. This monopoly is unusual, since other Schedule I drugs can be legally produced for research by labs with licenses from the Drug Enforcement Administration. But the DEA has refused to allow any competition in marijuana cultivation, which is done exclusively at a University of Mississippi farm (pictured on the right) under contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Craker and other scientists say the government's pot is not potent or varied enough for research on marijuana's medical applications, which neither the DEA nor NIDA, given their institutional missions, have much interest in promoting. In 2007 DEA Adminstrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner recommended that the agency let Craker and other qualified applicants grow marijuana. The DEA rejected her recommendation and denied Craker's application at the very end of the Bush administration. At the time I remarked:

Drug warriors insist that medical marijuana advocates jump through the usual regulatory hoops to get cannabis approved as a medicine. At the same time, they do whatever they can to make that impossible. Removing these senseless obstacles to research is just the sort of moderate reform that Barack Obama—who has promised to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids and has said doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana if research confirms its safety and efficacy—should be able to get behind.

Ha ha. Obama, who still has not stopped those DEA raids, appointed Michele Leonhart, the deputy DEA administrator who rejected Craker's application, to head the agency. A.P. reports that Craker "was frustrated...that he never got a hoped-for boost from the Obama administration.

More on the attempt to privatize legal pot production here.

[Thanks to Richard Cowan for the tip.]

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  • ||

    Typical government; they can't even grow pot as well as some burnout hippies do.

  • Matrix||

    You mean the government cannot do something as well as private individuals? Say it isn't so!

  • Gomer Pyle||

    Drug warriors insist that medical marijuana advocates jump through the usual regulatory hoops to get cannabis approved as a medicine. At the same time, they do whatever they can to make that impossible.

    Surprise, surprise, surprise!

  • pmains||

    Who is producing Irv Rosenfeld's stash? I ask, because he claims to be living proof of the efficacy of medical marijuana. If this works for him, shouldn't it also be sufficiently potent or what-have-you for research purposes?

  • pmains||

    Also, I should have added Irvin is a federal medical marijuana patient, and has been for decades. His pot is delivered by the government.

  • ||

    looks like irvin should diversfy his supply.

  • ||

    What makes you think he hasn't?

  • kinnath||

    If the police weren't represented by public employee unions, this problem would go away ;-)

  • ola||

    Sullum, you're on a roll with the posts. Can't reason get white house credentials and stand up in one of those daily briefings and ask "what successes or failures can your administration cite as a result of the current prohibition on certain plants?" And you should be wearing a "Free Marc Emery" t-shirt or ballcap.

  •  ||

    White House correspondents won't cross that line. They know which side their bread is buttered.

  • Helen Thomas||

    I would have.

  • ||

    u did jew hating pig

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Sole legal control on the production of a good or service...this sounds suspiciously like...a cartel.

    Somebody call the BATFE!

  • ||

    Alexander Shulgin, the inventor of MDMA (Xsatsy) and other cool drugs, apparently has a (I'm trying to remember here) first class license by the Feds to continue with his "experiments" and work. However, he has to suffer aggressive raids and unannounced searches of his residences by the same Feds! I guess they're trying to keep him in line. He seems to find it amusing....

  • ||

    See, this is what gets me. Apologists for Obama (and other politicians supposedly "better" on drug issues) correctly note that a politician who comes out publicly against the drug war is going to be pilloried by their opponents and probably fail to get reelected. But expanding research access to MJ is a tiny, tiny step that Obama could have taken that would barely be noticed in the press, and would be extremely difficult for his opponents to vilify him with...and he didn't even bother taking this step.

  • ||

    As minor as it would be, you just know it's the action that would get impeachment proceedings started. Never mind any of the various constitutional reasons for impeachment.

  • Number 2||

    Baloney. Obama meant what he said about marijuana as much as he meant that he'd close Guantanimo within a year...or not raise taxes one single dime...or put the Obamacare debates on C-Span...or post all legislation online for five days before signing it...or make jobs his first priority...or let us keep our existing health insurance if we are happy with it...Shall I go on?

  • Joe R.||

    This is unpossible. I read around here recently that free, unregulated markets were what caused monopolies.

  • Barack O Liar||

    This is the single number one problem with Barack Obama as he lies while encouraging this drug war to destroy the united STATES of america.

  • ||

    Let's say for a moment the DEA allowed other strains to be tested for medical research and the truth about cannabis was exposed to the citizens of this fine country. What happens then? Is it really like our government to fess up and admit that they fabricated this myth about marijuana? Will they admit that they have been bowing to the demands of Big Pharma? Will they finally release all of the COMPLETE studies that have been performed on cannabis. Will this government stop protecting big lobbying special interests who have profited at the expense and suffering of non violent peace loving Americans who happen to enjoy a little weed?

    What ever happened to "Government of the people, for the people, by the people..."?

  • Apogee||

    What ever happened to "Government of the people, for the people, by the people..."?

    There's too much money in suppressing all of that.

  • ||

    Did the dude tending the plants go right to work from church or some shit? Gotta suck gardening in a white suit all day.

  • ola||

    He's wearing sunglasses to hide his redeye because he's "So Wasted".
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZQwnJTPh-M

  • chaussures puma ||

    oh

  • Marijuana facts||

    Some peoples children no doubt. You can not believe anything they say, all of them are lairs.

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