While the Drug Enforcement Administration remains stagnant in its approach and classification of cannabis, policy makers in Washington state are moving forward with their plans to expand their progressive policies into the realm of cannabis research.
The DEA had many holding their breath earlier this summer with the potential of reclassifying cannabis from its current Schedule I positioning—where no medicinal value is recognized or research can be conducted. Upon their announcement that cannabis would be staying put, Washington state made clear their intentions of moving forward with the issuing of research licenses in 2017. As Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) stated, “We need some research institutions to come up with great information that we as legislators can use as we create policy.”
Those holding a research license will be allowed to cultivate cannabis solely for research purposes, with any excess cannabis only transferrable between other holders of a research license. The application fee for a research license is $250, with those qualifying required to pay a $1000 renewal fee annually.
In a letter to officials at the University of Washington and Washington State University, deputy director of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, Peter Antolin, expressed the research licenses potential to “advance the field of marijuana research and solidify Washington as a leader in this field.” While whether or not the federal government will choose to interfere with university participation due to their use of federal funding, universities will have the option of partnering with private research labs.