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DEA License Opens New Doors for Cannabis-Based Therapeutic Research

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Perhaps the most groundbreaking in the growing body of cannabis research are the companies that have licenses issued by the DEA. Depending on the license category, these companies can legally cultivate, manufacture, import, export, analyze and conduct cannabis research. Currently, only six entities are licensed with the DEA, and the license allows the holder to grow and distribute cannabis flower or extracts to researchers conducting FDA-approved research in strict accordance with DEA quotas. Having a license issued by the DEA also makes cannabis companies' university partners feel better about not losing their federal funding. While the DEA has not joined the legalization trend, cannabis operators and researchers who work with agency officials say they are no longer the anti-cannabis zealots trying to undermine the industry. The most important obstacle is assembling a scientific team with the background to do the job - from management, maintenance and record-keeping to biology, chemistry and pharmaceuticals.

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