“It’s always good news when the only dealer that can supply your Devil’s Kale tells you they are soon going to have even more cannabis to buy. Yes!
Except when it’s bad news because your dealer is the Drug Enforcement Administration. And much like someone with untreated ADHD using a 40-watt sun lamp in a cardboard box to grow three sickly plants, the DEA is the nation’s worst grower.
Last week, the DEA announced they will be producing even more cannabis in 2020. It’s a 30 percent increase to 3.2 million grams, or over 7,000 pounds of that sweet, potent federal flower. The struggle with quality versus quantity is still an issue where the DEA has shown no progress, in turn undercutting all federally funded cannabis research.
Last month in a two-part series of columns for the Portland Mercury profiling Elvy Musikka (one of the last remaining recipients of federally grown cannabis for medical use), I had several joints from the six pounds of pre-rolls Elvy picks up annually in Miami from the Feds tested by Green Leaf Labs. The results of this sad sub-swag were pathetic: 5.3 percent THC, with no measurable terpenes. (You know, just like everyone is trying to find at the dispensaries.) Perhaps not too surprising, seeing as researchers have complained for years about receiving a ground-up mixture of leaves, flowers, and stems, sometimes with mold.
The quality factor could change substantially if other producers were allowed to grow for the Feds, which the DEA has been promising to do for over three years, with more than 30 grow applicants each paying a $3,000 deposit, which the DEA still holds. They say they need to establish additional rules around these new potential growers and has given no date as to when these regulations are expected to be introduced.
An increase in cannabis research is both needed and welcomed, but using cannabis which is not used by consumers, patients, or anyone isn’t true research. It radically skews towards a less effective, more harmful series of outcomes for test subjects. It hamstrings researchers from discovering the true potential and risks of cannabis. Hopefully, the DEA will move to get cracking on those grower applications. I assure you, there is no shortage of growers who could consistently produce better than what Ole Miss is vomiting up.