Is the government really growing weed?
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In the 2008 stoner staple Pineapple Express, a secret military facility experiments with growing marijuana in the 1930s. A euphoric soldier, high off what the lab calls “Item 9,” says he feels like a “slice of butter” and then exclaims, “This is the bee’s knees!”
But when the soldier rants about how much he hates the army, a high-ranking official shuts down the whole experiment and deems cannabis “ILLEGAL!”
Did the federal government ever actually experiment with growing marijuana? As Mashable’s new YouTube series Weedwise explains, the answer is yes.
Dr. Jeff Chen, director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, confirmed it: The University of Mississippi has been the site of government research into bud for the past 50 years.
“They have the one and only license ever issued by the DEA to grow cannabis for research purposes,” Dr. Chen tells Weedwise.
In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse pays this university to grow weed, and then distributes it to registered researchers. But don’t think that the federal government is putting money into improving cannabis. A majority of funding is dedicated to researching the plant’s negative side effects and potential abuse of the drug. And since cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug, a researcher who wants to work with it can only access the University of Mississippi’s supply, even if it’s legal in their state or region.
Does the government actually grow weed for its citizens, though? Yes to that, too! At least, they do for a minuscule number of citizens. In 1978, Robert Randall was suffering from glaucoma and sued the U.S. because he wasn’t allowed to treat his condition by using cannabis. He won. His use was determined a “medical necessity,” and as a result of that case, the government created the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program.
“There were dozens of American citizens who got approval from the federal government to use cannabis to treat their debilitating medical conditions,” Dr. Chen says, “The government would mail them cartons of cannabis cigarettes or joints for them to consume.”
The program stopped adding new patients in 1992, but some of the original recipients are still alive today. And yes, they still get government-issued weed.
Interested in learning more about the government’s weed program — or in finding out the answers to even more intriguing questions, like is weed addictive and can it kill your brain cells? Watch Mashable’s Weedwise on YouTube, featuring new episodes every other week.