Weak Weed and Red Tape: Marijuana Research Is Slow Going

Some researchers studying marijuana want better stuff from their dealers.

“We can’t get very far with the Mississippi weed. That’s just the reality,” says Nicholas Lovrich, a professor emeritus of political science at Washington State University who is chair of its Cannabis Committee on Research and Outreach.

Mr. Lovrich is referring to the marijuana that comes from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s cannabis-research lab, the only federally approved marijuana-growing facility in the United States. It’s the easiest weed for a researcher to score, but many scholars say there’s a downside: It’s lacking in potency and diversity.

More than half of states have legalized medical marijuana; eight states have approved recreational use of the drug. Researchers, however, say they are hamstrung by federal regulations that can inundate them with paperwork and put their funding at risk.

On top of that, there’s the

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