By Anthony Martinelli

By Allie Beckett, Marijuana.com

Despite the recent DEA decision to keep cannabis classified as a Schedule 1 substance with no medicinal value, Washington State is moving forward with their plans to prove the plant’s value through solid, scientific research.

The state has officially announced its plans to move ahead with granting marijuana research licenses that will allow license holders to cultivate, process, and conduct studies on the unique and scientifically-mysterious cannabis plant.

Washington State is planning for marijuana research licenses to be awarded in January of 2017. Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center, Washington recently said, “The importance of [this bill]really hit home when the DEA decided not to reschedule marijuana because, they said, ‘we just don’t have enough research.’” However, Schedule 1 narcotic status is the roadblock for medical marijuana research — the catch 22. Sen. Rivers continued, “We need some research institutions to come up with great information that we as legislators can use as we create policy.”

Hopeful that more solid state-run research will convince the federal government of the medicinal properties and value of cannabis, Washington State is paving their own path for marijuana research. Peter Antolin, the deputy director of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, wrote in a letter to officials at two of the state’s prominent universities, “the marijuana research license provides a unique opportunity for Washington State to advance the field of marijuana research and solidify Washington as a leader in this field.”

A marijuana research license will allow clinical studies of marijuana-derived drug products as well as research on the efficacy of administering marijuana as part of a medical treatment.

In addition, those awarded a marijuana research license would also be allowed conduct research on the complex genetic background of cannabis as well as any agricultural applications.

While the universities may have a difficult time conducting cannabis research on-site due to their reliance on federal government funding, private-run research labs can partner with the state’s universities on specific projects.

Holders of a marijuana research license are allowed to cultivate cannabis on-site but strictly for research purposes. If there is an excess product, it may be sold to other marijuana research licensees.

For those growers who are passionate about the potential of marijuana but are not scientists themselves, it’s possible to grow under a marijuana research license and sell all the product to various research labs rather than recreational retail stores.

The application fee for a marijuana research license is only $250. However, a $1,000 renewal fee will be required every year after.

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