Jeff Sessions calls for “more competition” among medical marijuana growers for research
AG Jeff Sessions questioned by Senate committee about reports of feud between DEA and DOJ over planned expansion of marijuana cultivation for research purposes
October 18, 2017
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said there should be "more competition" among growers who supply marijuana for federal research, though he said he thought the current applicant pool of 26 was too many.
His statement came in response to a question from Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah. Hatch referred to legislation he recently co-sponsored with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, known as the MEDS Act. "I believe that scientists need to study the potential benefits and risks of marijuana," said Hatch, though clarifying that "I remain opposed to the broad legalization of marijuana."
Hatch said he was "very concerned" with reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Justice Department "are at odds" over granting additional applications for cultivating marijuana for research purposes. In August, DEA officials said they had been waiting for the Justice Department's sign-off to move forward on 25 applications, and expressed frustration that the Justice Department had not been willing to provide that sign-off.
"Can you clarify the position of the Justice Department regarding these applications?" Hatch asked the head of the DOJ.