Colorado wants to study medical marijuana. Federal law is making it tough.
Colorado plans to begin rewarding $9 million in grants for medical marijuana research early in 2015, but, according to the Denver Post, there’s a lot of uncertainty about who will be able to accept the funding.
As with many issues dealing with marijuana, the problem goes back to a disconnect between state and federal marijuana laws. Under the federal government’s classification system , marijuana is still in the most restrictive category, known as schedule 1. Under Colorado law, pot is legal even for personal use.
The divergence in legality causes a lot of complications. With these research grants in particular, the question is whether Colorado’s university-based researchers, who work for institutions that get a lot of federal funding, will be able to accept grants. The big worry for universities — and the review boards that approve studies — is that allowing a study on a federally illegal substance, particularly without federal approval, will cause them to lose millions in federal funds.