During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions called for more competition among those growing medical marijuana for research.
Advocates of marijuana, normally shocked by United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statements, may rejoice in the simple fact that he did not call for a mass shutdown or link marijuana to violence while speaking about it publicly.
Today, while answering questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which mostly focused on his contacts with Russians during the Trump campaign, Sessions called for “more competition” among those who grow marijuana for federal research. Sessions was responding to a question by Orin Hatch (R-Utah) regarding the MEDS Act. The MEDS Act would help clear obstacles to federal research into medical marijuana. Hatch is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
“I believe that scientists need to study the potential benefits and risks of marijuana,” said Hatch.
Hatch was quick to point out that he is only focused on research.
“I remain opposed to the broad legalization of marijuana,” the senator said.
Hatch is concerned that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are not on the same page when it comes to applications for growing marijuana for federal research. In August, the DEA said they were waiting for the DOJ to sign off on moving forward with the applications.
“Can you clarify the position of the Justice Department regarding these applications?” Hatch asked of Sessions.
“We have a marijuana research system working now. There is one supplier of the marijuana for that research. People have asked that there be multiple sources of the marijuana for medicinal research and have asked that it be approved. I believe there are now 26 applications for approval of suppliers who would provide marijuana for medicinal research. Each one of those has to be supervised by the DEA, and I have raised questions about how many and let’s be sure we’re doing this in the right way because it costs a lot of money to supervise these [indecipherable]. I think it would be healthy to have some more competition in the supply but I’m sure we don’t need 26 new suppliers,” Sessions replied.