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The DEA Allows Unlikely Candidate to Import Cannabis Internationally

Published on December 15, 2015 · Last updated July 28, 2020

The complex politics of cannabis make for some very strange bedfellows, and the latest case is no exception. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration approved the New Jersey-based organization Catalent to receive imported cannabis for research purposes.

Catalent Pharma Solutions, which is classified as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO), is based out of Somerset, New Jersey, but the site it registered with the DEA is in Kansas City, Missouri. The Federal Notice released by the Administration states:

“The DEA has…determined that the registration of Catalent CTS, LLC to import the basic class of controlled substance is consistent with the public interest and with United States obligations under international treaties, conventions, or protocols in effect on May 1, 1971.”

Catalent’s Kansas City site is just one of 31 locations to provide specialized production, storage, and logistics capabilities for controlled substances to support clinical trials and distribution for investigational medicinal products, although this is the first time it’s been authorized to support cannabis-related clinical trials.

The organization will likely be importing products from Europe, as one of the company’s clients is GW Pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom. GW Pharmaceuticals is the producer of such cannabis-based products as Epidiolex and Sativex. Sativex has been approved for use in 15 countries, including the United States, but Epidiolex is still in the investigational trial period and is being tested for its effectiveness on Lennox-Gestault Syndrome, a type of epilepsy with multiple different types of seizures.

It’s rather ironic that Catalent operates out of locations that aren’t known for being particularly cannabis-friendly. New Jersey has a medical marijuana program, albeit a struggling one. Neither Missouri not the United Kingdom have legal cannabis, but this could indicate a trend towards legitimacy for the medical marijuana community.

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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
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