Jeff Sessions getting in the way again: this time, by refusing to sign off on 25 research proposals from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The DEA began accepting proposals for cannabis research last year, racking up 25 proposals that would require Justice Department approval, but they won’t budge. “‘They’re sitting on it,’ said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. ‘They just will not act on these things.'” reported The Cannabist.
While the DEA spokesperson, Rusty Payne, responded to a request for comment by stating that the agency “has always been in favor of enhanced research for controlled substances such as marijuana,” Lauren Ehrsam, the spokesperson for the Justice Department, declined to comment.
This is not the first time the DEA has been at odds with the new administration. While Jeff Sessions and Trump have promised a crackdown on drugs and violent crime, DEA officials have been critical of the administration both publicly and privately. After Trump had remarked to officers on Long Island that they need not protect suspects’ heads when putting them into cars, the Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote an email to staff addressing the matter, saying that Trump had “condoned police misconduct.” He added in the email to employees that “we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.”
Though the DEA is no champion for marijuana—last year, Rosenberg declined to lessen restrictions on it’s use and kept it labeled as a Schedule I drug—they are interested in forwarding research on the plant and it’s effect on humans. At the time, Rosenberg stated that “support and promote legitimate research regarding marijuana and its constituent parts.” While it’s not a strong lean in favor of cannabis use, it’s far more than what Sessions is apparently willing to give, despite researchers and politicians alike asking for permission to research the drug, especially with almost 30 states with some form of legalized marijuana. But apparently, that’s too much to ask.