The Obama Administration needs hundreds and hundreds of pounds of marijuana this year, more than 30 times the amount of pot it originally ordered for 2014.
But don’t get any funny ideas. The pot is medicinal, and it’s needed for research purposes.
The Drug Enforcement Administration put out a rule on Monday that adjusts the annual production quota of medical marijuana for the U.S. government. That pot, produced by the University of Mississippi, is used by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse to conduct research on medical marijuana.
The NIDA’s research is in demand as states around the country consider legalizing medical marijuana, and as pressure is growing on the federal government to decriminalize it.
And that demand means the federal government needs a lot more pot than it thought it needed. The DEA had originally set out a production quota of 21 kilograms of pot for 2014.
But the new regulation bumped that quota up to 650 kilograms, or about 1,430 pounds.
The price for a kilogram of marijuana varies from state to state, but hovers around $1,000 in many states — using that price, that puts the street value of the government’s order at about $650,000.
The DEA rule says the production increase is needed to ensure NIDA has enough product on which to conduct its research.
“NIDA recently notified the DEA that it required additional supplies of marijuana to be manufactured in 2014 to provide for current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana,” the rule stated. “The DEA was unaware of NIDA’s additional need at the time the initial aggregate production quote for marijuana was established in September 2013.
“The aggregate production quote for marijuana should be increased in order to provide a continuous and uninterrupted supply of marijuana in support of DEA-registered researchers who are approved by the Federal Government to utilize marijuana in their research protocols.”
The rule shows the government can get as much pot as it needs, something most Americans still cannot do given that marijuana is a controlled substance. Many Democrats have proposed legislation that would take medical marijuana off this list, and several Republicans are also on board with this policy change.
But other Republicans are looking to clamp down on marijuana. Earlier this year, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced the “No Welfare for Weed Act,” which would prevent low-income Americans from using welfare or food stamp benefits to buy marijuana.