For decades, researchers who were able to secure cannabis research permits were required by federal law to source cannabis flower from a farm at the University of Mississippi. Researchers have long complained that the cannabis produced at the university was subpar and impacted research into the plant’s potential benefits and risks.
In 2019, a study by University of Northern Colorado researchers revealed that the cannabis grown at the University of Mississippi was genetically closer to hemp than the cannabis sold in commercial dispensaries. Consequently, researchers, reform activists and stakeholders have been pressuring regulators to allow the use of commercial cannabis in scientific studies. Regulators have relented in recent years and licensed more cultivators to provide cannabis for research.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is now seeking a contractor that is capable of growing and analyzing 4 million grams (4,000 kg) of cannabis. Last week, NIDA published a request for proposal (RFP) stating that it was looking for contractors that could grow, test and roll joints with approximately 4 million grams of marijuana over a period of five years. If the agency awards a company with such a contract, it would be the end of the University of Mississippi’s 50-year monopoly on the cultivation of marijuana for research.
Applicants interested in securing the contract will have to possess Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-issued Schedule I research registration to qualify for the bulk cannabis supply deal. The RFP says that the main goal of the contract is to provide materials for cannabis research, and it requires a source that can consistently produce cannabis that is contaminant free and has predictable potency.
The RFP also states that the contractor will be tasked with producing or procuring cannabis, cannabis extract, or any other marijuana-derived materials for use in clinical and basic research. The contractor will also be required to run qualitative and quantitative analyses, provide stability determination and offer recommendations for how to store cannabis that is approved for research. This contractor would have to supply enough cannabis to support a wide variety of cannabis research projects, with the proposal stating that they would need a production capacity of around 8,800 pounds of cannabis over the five-year period.
The contractor would have to procure 1,100 pounds in the first year, which is equal to around 1.6 million standard joints. Over the entire five-year period, running from March 23, 2023, to March 22, 2028, the contractor would be required to provide 12.5 million joints worth of cannabis.
Hopefully, the steps being taken by NIDA and other federal health agencies will eventually result in regulatory changes that could make the legal landscape in which licensed marijuana companies such as American Cannabis Partners operate a little more conducive to the success of the industry.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to American Cannabis Partners are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACP
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