Nearly a year after the Drug Enforcement Agency announced it would allow more organizations to grow cannabis for sanctioned studies, there’s still only one federally authorized cultivator in the United States.
The agency has received 25 applications from interested cultivators, according to DEA spokeswoman Katherine Pfaff. All of those applications are still being processed, she said, with no estimate for when any decisions might be made.
“Because this is a new registrant category, DEA cannot speculate on a timeline for each application,” Pfaff said.
Meanwhile, as more states legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, demand for research into the plant’s potential benefits and harms continues to grow.
Eight researchers requested and received supplies of marijuana for testing in 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, with many asking for multiple shipments during the year. That number rose to 17 researchers in 2016. And nine have already requested shipments halfway through 2017.