Maridose LLC, based in Maine, announced on Aug. 19 that it officially received a federal cultivation license from both the United States Department of Justice, as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The company is one of only seven in the country that have been approved by the DEA as a “bulk manufacturer marihuana grower.”
“We are very excited to receive this license from the DEA to produce and sell cannabis for research purposes, this a huge step for science and the future of cannabis,” said Maridose Founder Richard Shain.
In the past, the only institution that was legally allowed to provide cannabis to researchers was the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Development of Natural Products, when it received the country’s only cultivation registration from the DEA in 1968. That monopoly ended in May 2021 when the DEA announced that it would eventually be granting cultivation licenses to third-party applicants. “Pending final approval, DEA has determined, based on currently available information, that a number of manufacturers’ applications to cultivate marijuana for research needs in the United States appears to be consistent with applicable legal standards and relevant laws. DEA has, therefore, provided a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to these manufacturers as the next step in the approval process.”
Also in May 2021, the Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona and Biopharmaceutical Research Co. in California received approval. Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals in California, received approval in December 2021, followed by Groff North America, based in Pennsylvania, in March 2022 and California-based Irvine Labs in April 2022. And now in August, Maridose makes the seventh applicant to be approved so far.
“Our DEA Registration Number RM063095 is the culmination of over five years of working with the DEA and enables Maridose to legally sell a wide variety of cannabis products through the DEA to researchers and DEA-licensed pharmaceutical companies in the United States and internationally,” said Shain. “The DEA has indicated that it will only issue a very limited number of them, and Maridose is proud to be one of the first companies to receive a license. Cannabis businesses operating in states that have state legal cannabis are unable to ship across state lines and operate at legal risk because cannabis remains a Schedule 1 substance at the federal level. Maridose is able to legally supply our customers without these risks and limitations.”
As of Aug. 22, the Federal Register lists many applications for the coveted bulk manufacturer license.
Dr. Sue Sisley, President of the Scottsdale Research Institute, has long been respected as a leader in cannabis study. Although the institute received approval from the DEA in May 2021, it still wasn’t safe from the ongoing issue of banking in the cannabis industry. In October 2021, Sisley took to Twitter, explaining how the Bank of America closed the Scottsdale Research Institute’s accounts with very little notice. “Bank of America closes down account of Federally-licensed cannabis researcher. SRI conducts FDA approved controlled trials evaluating cannabis as medicine for treating pain/PTSD in military veterans & terminally ill patients this TRAGICALLY shuts down our research @BankofAmerica,” she wrote on Oct. 12, 2021.
The SAFE Banking Act would be a welcome improvement to ongoing cannabis industry woes, but many believe that it’s not enough to fully protect cannabis businesses.
Cannabis research continues to ramp up, with Louisiana University recently receiving approval to study cannabis. It’s currently one of only two schools that has been chosen in the state so far. In June, the government researchers spoke up about their work in helping treat military veterans with MDMA and psilocybin.