Attorney General Jeff Sessions hasn't been able to institute any marijuana crackdowns due to political pressures in Congress, but he has found one area where he can stymie marijuana growth: research.
It's been nearly two years since the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced it would open up the process for producing marijuana for research by the federal government. The DEA contracts outside companies to grow or manufacture illegal drugs so they can study them further. And yet despite opening up the process, the DEA still hasn't picked any companies to provide marijuana for the process, and that's exactly what Sessions wants.
Historically, while the Attorney General does oversee the DEA, they usually stay out of the process of researching marijuana. And yet Sessions inserted himself fully two years ago, and he's refused to authorize anyone to begin growing marijuana for research.
Several members of Congress have questioned Sessions about the situation, and he's given no indication as to when (or possibly if) he will make a decision. In April, Senators Orrin Hatch and Kamala Harris gave Sessions a deadline of May 15th to give them a timeline. That deadline was ignored.
Sessions claims that the DEA cannot handle overseeing more applications for marijuana growers, which is why he needed to get involved. And yet, the DEA has approved 26 applications for manufacturing other illegal drugs to study in 2018 alone.
Unfortunately it doesn't seem Congress is to intent on forcing Sessions to make a choice as all they've done is send a few letters to him.
But why is Sessions so reluctant to allow this marijuana research to continue? If marijuana has no benefits, as he claims, wouldn't the research simply prove him right? Or does he know that the research proves his antiquated ideas about cannabis are wrong, and he knows if he allows more research it will only become more apparent how wrong he is?