Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker blamed international treaty obligations for the delayed expansion of federally approved marijuana cultivation facilities for research purposes on Friday.
During an otherwise tense oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) asked Whitaker for a status update on applications to become cultivators of research-grade cannabis. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had pledged to increase the number of such facilities in a notice published in the Federal Register in 2016.
“Several institutions have submitted applications that have yet to receive a response,” Neguse said. “What is the status of those applications, if you might know, and do you know if the Department of Justice and DEA intend to support legitimate cannabis research that can help protect the health and safety of our citizens?”