Pubdate: Thu, 04 Sep 2014
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2014 The Denver Post Corp
Author: John Ingold


For-Profit Firms Barred From Leading State Research

For-profit companies will not be eligible to lead ground-breaking 
state-funded medical marijuana studies, under the terms of the grant 
program released Wednesday.

In the official request for applications, the state Department of 
Public Health and Environment specifies that institutions eligible to 
apply as primary recipients for the grants include only "not-for 
profit organizations, health care organizations, governmental 
entities and higher education institutions." Applicants do not have 
to be based in Colorado to apply. For-profit firms will be allowed as 
subcontractors on grant proposals.

The roughly $9 million in available grant money represents the 
largest-ever state-funded effort to study medical benefits of 
marijuana. Health officials hope researchers will be able, for the 
first time, to conduct clinical or observational trials using the 
kinds of cannabis products that are available in Colorado's 
medical-marijuana system.

"Colorado is a national leader in the development of new strains of 
marijuana and its component parts that appear to have promising 
therapeutic effects," the application request states.

But the restrictions on who can apply for the grants likely will 
complicate the research proposals. As the application request notes, 
organizations-such as universities-that have some level of federal 
funding or oversight must comply with federal rules for doing 
research on marijuana. For a clinical trial on humans, that means 
obtaining five separate approvals, including from the Drug 
Enforcement Administration.

Members of the advisory board that will review the grant applications 
raised concerns about federal complications at a meeting last week.
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