California’s top agriculture school partners with a private lab licensed by the Drug Enforcement Administration to study the plant for the benefit of scientific professionals, health-care providers and law enforcement.

By Ed Murrieta

The University of California, Davis, is the only university west of the Mississippi licensed by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct cannabis research. The official opening of UC Davis’ Cannabis and Hemp Research Center can’t come soon enough. 

The center recently partnered with a DEA-licensed laboratory to conduct off-campus plant research for scientific professionals, health-care providers and law enforcement. The center is expected to name its leadership and officially launch in about a month. 

The timing of the center’s opening coincides with the federal Food and Drug Administration punting CBD further into the gray market, saying it can’t determine whether the cannabis compound is safe for human or animal consumption. UC Davis’ research partner, a former Navy SEAL who runs the DEA-licensed laboratory at an undisclosed location in Northern California, hashtagged the quintessential government conundrum — #catch22 — in a tweet saying, “Right now the FDA says ‘you must study something before marketing it’ and the DOJ says ‘we will not permit you to produce cannabis for study.'” 

Now approved by the DEA, a branch of the Department of Justice, UC Davis and Biopharmaceutical Research Company can begin acquiring and growing cannabis for research. 

I propose framing the story with the FDA’s Catch-22 and reporting the story from UC Davis and the undisclosed location of the DEA-licensed laboratory, interviewing the newly named director of UC Davis’ Cannabis and Hemp Research Center, the DEA-licensed lab’s ex-Navy SEAL EO and cannabis industry leaders who potentially may partner with UC Davis the way wine, brewing and coffee industry players partner with the agriculture university’s other well-regarded research centers.