Two federal agencies hope to reduce the nation’s opioid epidemic with the help of legal cannabis.
In a news release issued by the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration, officials are calling to quintuple the cultivation of research-grade cannabis while reducing production of the nation’s most frequently abused opioids.
The DEA specifically identified oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, morphine, and fentanyl as the pharmaceuticals that should reduce production in 2019.
“We’ve lost too many lives to the opioid epidemic and families and communities suffer tragic consequences every day,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a press release. “This significant drop in prescriptions by doctors and DEA’s production quota adjustment will continue to reduce the amount of drugs available for illicit diversion and abuse while ensuring that patients will continue to have access to proper medicine.”
Forbes‘ Tom Angell reports that the DEA would like to produce 5,400 pounds of research-grade marijuana in 2019, which would be a considerable increase from about 1,000 pounds in 2018.
DEA officials say that the proposed quota on cannabis and prescription meds “reflects the total amount of controlled substances necessary to meet the country’s medical, scientific, research, industrial, and export needs for the year and for the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks.”
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