Earlier this year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its plans to revise former President Obama’s federal cannabis regulations, and in doing so would process applications for access to cannabis research. In order to obtain a federal license, applicants must adhere to very strict guidelines, including demonstrating a case for the public interest. One way to do this is to submit a filing to the FDA for the development of a pharmaceutical, and of the 33 applicants so far, only two have filed for clinical trials with the FDA. 

Universities and Research institutes are the most likely candidates to obtain a federal growing license, yet Duane Boise, CEO of MMJ Biopharma Cultivation, of Florida, believes that he has a decent chance at getting a license to cultivate medical marijuana. “We meet the public interest requirement evidenced by our filings with the FDA, in our development of a cannabis-based drug to treat Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s Disease. We have applied for the DEA bulk manufacturing license to continue our development of an FDA-approved pharmaceutical,” said Boise. 

Aside from meeting the public interest requirement, Boise has another strategy: he plans to cultivate the crop on federally-protected Native American sovereign lands. The arrangement is mutually beneficial, as MMJ Biopharma will end up employing many members of the tribe. The only approach so far that would be a viable opportunity to cultivate federally-approved cannabis would be the association with a university, but Duane Boise manages to circumvent this with his nascent approach. 

Sara Brittany Somerset of Forbes Online was able to exclusively obtain the DEA’s application, a 21 page long, 92 questionnaire process. The more mundane questions pertain to logistics such as proposed air filtration systems and security protocol. With regard to the latter, it is fortunate that the Native American tribe has its own police force. 

The DEA amendments to the 2016 Obama policy statement will supersede the current policy in place and govern applicants seeking to become registered. One of the key revisions of the policy includes moving away from a single grower system and registering additional growers. The Department of Justice has also been involved in the process to “ensure that the marijuana growers program is consistent with applicable laws and treaties.”