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Editorial: Weeding out marijuana research motives |

Editorial: Weeding out marijuana research motives

| Friday, December 7, 2018 4:33 p.m

Where there is smoke, there is fire, and where you have marijuana, you are bound to have someone looking for a way to cash in on it.

When weed is illegal, that’s going to be dealers.

When it’s not, that’s going to be more corporate entities, including growing and distributing operations. Maybe unsurprisingly, it also includes the state that regulates it and the universities that see a potential for research funding.

The business and the university sides took a hit this week when the state said “Yeah, no” to applications from eight growers partnering with medical schools on research.

The state says it will take more applications in the new year, but the industry says the delay could be an indefinite roadblock.

“This research is essential, as it will help identify other ways that medical cannabis can help aid in suffering with conditions like PTSD, chronic pain, epilepsy and cancer,” said Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi, whose $4 billion company is set to work with the University of Pennsylvania.

The permits rejected would have allowed the companies involved to grow marijuana in Pennsylvania as well as operate dispensaries.

It’s easy to wonder if the altruistic sentiments of the companies are less about struggling soldiers and pain-wracked cancer patients than they are about the money that goes into creating a $4 billion company.

Pennsylvania, despite being one of the newcomers to legalizing marijuana for medical (but still not recreational) use, is stepping out in front of the research field, something that hasn’t been easy because of federal regulations on a drug many states are legalizing while nationally, it is still a crime to possess and distribute.

But one of the issues with the applications was that the Department of Health had already pushed the pause button once while taking a red pen to its regulations, and a Harrisburg lawyer has filed a lawsuit saying the whole “process was flawed” from the outset and needs to be rethought with more emphasis on the research part of a research project.

The state says that’s not true.

Maybe it’s just time for everyone to take a deep breath, remember that there really are people with medical needs that are part of this and put power plays and money moves to the back burner.

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