The federal government just ordered all the marijuana it wants — something it would send most Americans to prison for doing.
On Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a new rule that increases the U.S. government’s production quota for medical marijuana from an annual 21 kg to 650 kg. That’s about 1,433 pounds of pot in total.
The U.S. government grows marijuana for research purposes at the University of Mississippi in the only federally legal marijuana garden in the U.S. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) oversees the cultivation, production and distribution of these crops.
“NIDA recently notified the DEA that it required additional supplies of marijuana to be manufactured in 2014 to provide for current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana,” reads a recent Federal Register’s statement from the DEA.
The statement goes on to specify a production quota of 650,000 grams of pot for the current year.
The DEA decided to grant NIDA access to more marijuana “in order to provide a continuous and uninterrupted supply” of cannabis for research, according to the statement, which also says that the federal government was “unaware” of NIDA’s need for additional marijuana when the initial production quota of 21 kg was set in 2013.
Twenty-one states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington, with sales in Colorado having already begun. About a dozen other states are considering legalizing marijuana in some form in the coming years.