Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2018
Sadie Gurman

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Two years after the Drug Enforcement Administration began accepting requests to grow marijuana for federally approved research, none have been answered, leaving more than two dozen applicants in limbo, people familiar with the process said.

The future of the initiative ultimately rests with the DEA's parent agency, the Justice Department, and officials under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime critic of marijuana use, aren't eager to advance the applications, these people said. Mr. Sessions has stated publicly he is open to research on the drug but has offered no timeline for processing the applications.

The applicants include a variety of entrepreneurs, as well as a university professor and a former Navy SEAL who wants to study how marijuana might help veterans suffering from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have voiced frustration at the delays, saying Mr. Sessions has repeatedly avoided questions about the status of the applications. The inaction, they say, is stalling much-needed research into the potential health benefits of marijuana as society takes a more tolerant view of its use.

A DEA spokeswoman referred questions to the Justice Department, which declined to comment. [...]

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