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Colorado: State Approves Up To $10 Million For Cannabis Research

22 May 2014 | Denver, CO: Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday approved legislation to fund observational and clinical research assessing the safety and therapeutic efficacy of cannabis.

The measure earmarks up to $10 million within the state’s medical marijuana program fund to be utilized specifically to “gather objective scientific research regarding the efficacy of administering marijuana and its component parts as part of medical treatment.” The law also establishes a ‘scientific advisory council,’ which may include expert participants from around the nation, to evaluate research proposals and make recommendations in regards to funding requests.

Despite the passage of legislation in various states permitting patients to access medicinal cannabis, only one state, California, has explicitly directed state funds toward sponsoring clinical cannabis research. That program, established at various California state universities, funded numerous clinical trials over the past decade evaluating the efficacy of whole-plant cannabis for a variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain. A review of these trials published in The Open Neurology Journal concluded, “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”

Earlier this month, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) publicly announced in the Federal Register that it is increasing its marijuana production quota from 21 kilograms to 650 kilograms (about 1,443 pounds) in order to meet increasing demand for the plant from clinical investigators.

Federal regulations permit a farm at the University of Mississippi to cultivate set quantities of cannabis for use in federally approved clinical trials. Regulators at the DEA, the US Food and Drug Administration, PHS (Public Health Service), and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse must approve any clinical protocol seeking to study the plant’s effects in human subjects – including those trials that are either state or privately funded.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: