Federally-Funded Marijuana Turns 50

The marijuana growing field at UM was last planted in 2014, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse has requested a larger crop to be produced in 2019, so university officials are readying the field for use next summer. Photo by Don Stanford/Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Fifty years ago, the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy was awarded a competitive contract from the government to grow marijuana that could be standardized for research.

Interest in marijuana research had grown throughout the late ’60s, and the government wanted to study the effects of cannabis on the brain and the body. To do that, it needed a source of certifiable plant material that was responsibly grown and harvested.

Coy Waller, who would later become the leading force of UM’s marijuana operation, was serving on a committee

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