The government wants to buy 12 acres of marijuana for research according to a listing posted on a federal government website. An arm of the National Institutes of Health dedicated to researching drug abuse and addiction “intends” to solicit proposals from those who can “harvest, process, analyze, store and distribute” cannabis.
A successful bidder must possess a “secure and video monitored outdoor facility” capable of growing and processing 12 acres of marijuana, a 1,000-sq.-ft. (minimum) greenhouse to test the plants under controlled conditions, and “demonstrate the availability” of a vault approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration to maintain between 400 and 700 kg of pot stock, extract and cigarettes.
The NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is looking for growers who have the capability to develop plants with altered versions of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of pot, and cannabidiol (CBD), which is known for its medicinal properties. NIDA “anticipates” awarding a one-year contract with four one-year options, according to the posting. The vendor would also have to register with the DEA to research, manufacture and distribute cannabis.
For anyone hoping that this means that the government is one step closer to legalizing marijuana across the country, not so fast. This isn’t a new research project. NIDA spokeswoman Shirley Simson noted that the agency is simply starting a new bidding competition since the existing marijuana farm contract is set to expire next year. The original solicitation for the contract was issued in 2009.
To date, there are 18 states that have decriminalized pot, 23 states with laws allowing access to medical marijuana, and two states — Colorado and Washington — that have legalized the drug for recreational purposes. Federal law still classifies marijuana as a drug on par with heroin, acid, and ecstasy.
Of course, there are a bunch of other criteria and qualifications for famers to have their bid considered for a contract. Read more at fbo.gov.