US DOJ Blocks Cannabis Research

US DOJ Blocks Cannabis Research

US DOJ Blocks Cannabis Research


The Big Q: Is the Justice Department blocking cannabis research?

The Big A: It sounds like it is

When the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) receives applications to grow cannabis for research, they have to send it to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for final approval. And so far the DOJ has not acted on any of the applications

Notably, the Justice Department under US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has effectively blocked the Drug Enforcement Administration from taking action on 25 requests to grow marijuana to use in research,1 of a number of areas in which the anti-drug agency is at odds with The Trump Administration.

“They’re sitting on it,” one law enforcement official said. “They just will not act on these things.” So far, the only place in the US authorized to grow cannabis for research is the University of Mississippi.

As a result, the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.

A Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment.

The standoff is the latest example of the nation’s Top narcotics enforcement agency finding itself in disagreement with the administration.

While President Trump and USAG Sessions have vowed a crackdown on drugs and violent crime, DEA officials have publicly and privately questioned some of the administration’s statements and goals.

USAG Sessions speaks harshly about marijuana use, and Justice Department officials have been reviewing the policy of his predecessor, Loretta Lynch, when it comes to enforcing federal laws on marijuana in states where the drug is legal.

He has called medical marijuana “hyped, maybe too much,” and signaled that he is skeptical about the benefits of smoking it.

A spokesman for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, said that the federal government for years has prevented important research into marijuana.

Perhaps a Key reason for the USDOJ stone walling is that cannabis is a threat to Big Pharma

Those of us that follow the high risk, big reward industry, learned that in March 2017, GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH) received orphan status for Epidiolex from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of LGS, which will speed up the review process in Europe and make GWPH exempt from competition for similar drugs over a multi-year period.

Unfortunately, GWPH stock has and continues to feel the pressure, as reports have come out stating that medical cannabis could potentially take away billions of sales from the pharmaceutical industry for the different conditions it can treat, including epilepsy.

This has renewed fears that simple medical marijuana, and the products derived from it and hemp  that I have been covering in this column for the past 10 years, are not expensive and can be just as an effective treatment as a high priced Big Pharma Rx drugs.

As a result, the shares that in March traded at high as 136.95 is now trading at 99.92 as of Friday’s close in NY.

The stock as I see it trades on emotional speculation, as the fundamentals are weak in light of the huge inherent uncertainty.  My preference is a company like PotNetworks Holdings (OTCMKT:POTN) trading at about 0.06/share one trading at 100/share.

But, make no mistake if management can complete the NDA, receive final approval from the FDA and turn Epidiolex into a $1-B drug, bettors on GWPH stock will be handsomely rewarded.

The US Justice Department has not rejected any of the 25 people whose applications to grow marijuana the DEA is considering.

Instead, the department is not taking any action at all.

Before approving such applications, DEA officials have to assess each applicant and determine whether their facility is secure and whether they had previously been complying with federal law.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NASDAQ:GWPH 99.92 18 August 2017 -1.59 101.1 101.47 98.3 337,100
HeffX-LTN Analysis for GWPH: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Neutral (-0.22) Bearish (-0.31) Bearish (-0.42) Neutral (0.06)

Have a terrific weekend.



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