The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA has proposed to increase the amount of marijuana that can be produced legally in the U.S. for research by more than 30 percent, while reducing the amount of five opioids manufactured in the country.
The DEA proposes to increase the amount of marijuana that can be produced for research by almost a third over 2019’s level, from 2,450 kilograms to 3,200 kilograms. The figure is also almost triple the amount of marijuana produced in 2018.
Over the last two years, the total number of individuals registered by the DEA to conduct research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, derivatives and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC increased by more than 40 percent to 542 in January 2019 from 384 in January 2017.
The DEA is a federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Justice or DoJ. The agency noted that will the proposed increase in marijuana production will meet the need created by the increase in the amount of approved research involving marijuana.
In addition, the DEA proposes to reduce the production of five Schedule II opioid controlled substances that can be manufactured in the U.S. in 2020, compared to 2019.
The DEA proposes to reduce the amount of fentanyl produced in 2020 by 31 percent, hydrocodone by 19 percent, hydromorphone by 25 percent, oxycodone by 9 percent and oxymorphone by 55 percent.
Combined with morphine, the proposed quota would be a 53 percent decrease in the amount of allowable production of these opioids since 2016.
These five opioid substances were subject to special scrutiny following the enactment last year of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act, known as the SUPPORT Act.
Public comments will be accepted on the proposed aggregate production quotas or APQs through October 10.
“The aggregate production quota set by DEA each calendar year ensures that patients have the medicines they need while also reducing excess production of controlled prescription drugs that can be diverted and misused,” said DEA’s Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.
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