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Colorado: State Colleges Could Start Growing Cannabis

Will the feds allow schools to plant cannabis gardens?

The Denver Post reports today that the Colorado State Attorney General sent a letter to the federal government last month seeking permission for state colleges to cultivate cannabis. The aim is to allow academic and scientific studies.

“Current research is riddled with bias or insufficiencies and often conflict with one another,” reads the letter, written by deputy attorney general David Blake. “It is critical that we be allowed to fill the void of scientific research, and this may only be done with your assistance and cooperation.” read full DP story 

A handful of universities around the country already study the plant. But they are only allowed to use marijuana produced by the federal government, ironically, at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) garden located at the University of Mississippi. Labs that receive the single strain of relatively low-potency federal weed must have permits from the DEA and other agencies.

Oddly, utilizing state colleges for marijuana is not a new idea. Several states brought up the concept after passing medical cannabis laws. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed that Rutgers have a monopoly on cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana back in 2010. The idea wasrejected by school officials.

“There is no way for Rutgers to be involved in this initiative without violating the federal Controlled Substances Act, which we will not do.” read story

Academic institutions are particularly reliant on federal funding. In states where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical use campuses forbid students and staff from bringing it on campus.

Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts have even instructed students who are registered Bay State medical marijuana patients that they may not live in campus housing.

Princeton University fired Don DeZarn, a US Army veteran and registered NJ medical marijuana patient, from his job in the food services department last year. DeZarn worked on campus for 18 years and was released after he told his employers he was a patient in the state program but did not ever consume on campus.

It is unclear when or if the federal government will respond to the letter from CO. John Ingold at The Denver Post says getting the permission granted would be “a long shot.”

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