Legal weed is everywhere — unless you’re a scientist: The push to legalize marijuana may overtake research on medical benefits.
Americans can legally buy high quality marijuana in most states, but when scientists want to study pot in a lab, they’re basically stuck with schwag.
A little-known research facility at the University of Mississippi is the only place in the country that is authorized to grow and test marijuana for medical research purposes. But this effort is stymied by a slow process for certifying scientists, a lack of funding and according to pot experts, an inferior product compared to what the booming cannabis sector has rolled out in recent years.
“It’s brown, muddy garbage,” said Peter Grinspoon, a physician and board member of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, describing the Mississippi stock.
Meanwhile, 33 states now allow medical marijuana, including 10 states and the District of Columbia, which have taken further steps to decriminalize or legalize pot for recreational use. This major disconnect between the federal government’s oversight of marijuana and the blossoming of a robust consumer market for cannabis products has real world consequences: Legitimate medical research into the impact of cannabis on everything from anxiety to Parkinson’s disease is not only slowed down — scientists don’t even have a product that matches real-world use. [...]health law policy medical safety public health regulation research