The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has filed a proposal that would more than double the federal quota on cannabis produced for research in 2023 compared to this year. The agency is also seeking an increase in the production of psychedelic drugs including LSD, mescaline and psilocin, a psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, according to a
“These proposed 2023 quotas reflect the quantities that DEA believes are necessary to meet the estimated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States, including any increase in demand for certain controlled substances used to treat patients with COVID-19; lawful export requirements; and the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks,”
In a notice scheduled to be published in the Federal Register this week, the DEA is proposing that authorized cultivators grow about 6.7 million grams (approximately 14,770 pounds) of cannabis for federally approved research in 2023. The proposed quota is more than twice the 2022 final quota of 3.2 million grams and three times the final figure for 2021, which was 2 million grams.
For more than five decades, all of the cannabis produced for federally authorized research was cultivated at the University of Mississippi, which has a contract to grow marijuana with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). However, last year the DEA notified several companies that they had been approved to grow cannabis for federal research and could seek similar contracts with NIDA. Two of the companies revealed in January that they had made their first harvest with DEA approval.
The new DEA quotas also seek an increase in the production of cannabinoids other than delta-9 THC, the most popular form of the predominant psychoactive compound in cannabis, such as delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC. Although the compounds are not controlled substances when derived from legally grown hemp, the agency said that it “supports regulated research with schedule I controlled substances, as evidenced by increases proposed for 2023 as compared with aggregate production quotas for these substances in 2022.”
Psychedelics Quotas Also Higher
The DEA also increased its proposed 2023 quotas for psychedelic drugs including psilocin, mescaline and LSD. The agency’s quota for psilocybin, the primary hallucinogenic compound in psilocybin mushrooms, remained the same as this year at 8,000 grams. But the quota for psilocin, a related psychoactive compound in the fungi, was increased from 4,000 grams to 8,000 grams.
Meanwhile, the quota for mescaline, a psychedelic drug produced by peyote and other cacti, was increased significantly, from 100 to 1,200 grams. The agency’s quota for the psychedelic LSD is up from 500 grams in 2022 to 1,200 grams, and target production of 5-MeO-DMT is set at 6,000 grams, up from this year’s final quota of 2,550 grams. Quotas for the psychedelic drugs MDMA, DMT and MDA remained the same, at 8,200 grams, 3,000 grams and 200 grams, respectively.
“There has been a significant increase in the use of schedule I hallucinogenic controlled substances for research and clinical trial purposes,” the agency said. “DEA has received and subsequently approved new registration applications for schedule I researchers and new applications for registration from manufacturers to grow, synthesize, extract, and prepare dosage forms containing specific schedule I hallucinogenic substances for clinical trial purposes.”
The DEA lowered target production for opioids, writing that the Food and Drug Administration “predicts that levels of medical need for schedule II opioids in the United States in calendar year 2023 will decline on average 5.3 percent from calendar year 2022 levels.”
“These declines are expected to occur across a variety of schedule II opioids including fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone,” the agency wrote in its filing.