MedPharm clears DEA hurdle for federal cannabis research license

Wednesday August 28, 2019 0 comments Tags: Denver, MedPharm , Albert Gutierrez

DENVER -- MedPharm Research announced it has been selected by the U.S. DEA to move forward as one of the first applicants to be granted a license to grow federally legal cannabis under the terms of a new policy statement issued in the Federal Register.medpharm-logo

“This is something we have been waiting for since we first sent in our application in September 2016, as one of the first medical grow facilities to apply for a license,” said Albert Gutierrez, MedPharm CEO.

“Now, finally, the DEA has seen the importance of allowing federally legal grows to get more active in medical cannabis research, and do the work that we really need to do for patients across the country. It is a real game-changer for the whole medical cannabis industry.”

In a letter to Gutierrez, the DEA said MedPharm will be issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, where the company will be asked to comment on regulations about growing cannabis for medical research.

However, the DEA has not provided a timetable for when those regulations will be completed.

“We at MedPharm stand ready to assist the DEA in any way we can to help expedite this process, and bring to patients the best quality, FDA-approved cannabis that they need for research and treatment as quickly as possible,” said Gutierrez.

According to the University of Mississippi News, in 1968, the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy was awarded a competitive contract from the government to grow marijuana that could be standardized for research.

For more than 50 years, it has remained the only cultivation facility licensed by the DEA to provide federally legal cannabis for medical researchers, who have reported that cannabis from the university is of such poor quality that it is essentially useless in conducting the lab work and human trials necessary for a reliable FDA-approved medical research.

As more medical cannabis research ramped up, a growing group of medical cannabis researchers pressured the DEA to open up licensing to other facilities. In August 2016, the DEA said it would begin accepting applications for companies wanting licenses for legal grows, but nothing more happened until June 2019, when one of the applicants sued the DEA for unreasonable delays.

MedPharm said it is well-positioned to work with the DEA and be among the first providers of federally legal cannabis for medical research. The application for the license included outlining research objectives and creating areas where medical research cannabis is grown specifically for research purposes.

MedPharm Holdings has a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing, research and development laboratory and cannabis processing facility in Denver. Since beginning operations in 2016, MedPharm has grown to a staff of 22 people, including a PhD of chemistry and extraction, Dr. Tyrell Towle.

Additionally, Scott Karolchyk, director of formulation development at MedPharm, is a member of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Marijuana Enforcement Division, Science and Policy Work Group.