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Jonathan Beller/Boston Magazine
Dr. Lyle Craker, UMass-Amherst: “I’m disappointed mostly because of all the patients who could potentially benefit”

​Respected horticulturalist Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst has been trying for almost a decade to persuade the federal government to let him grow marijuana for medical research. He wanted to learn more about the plant’s medical benefits. But Craker, 70, was over and over again rebuffed, and now he’s finally giving up.

Craker said he saw no end in sight to the legal wrangling, with an appeals process that could run for years or even decades, reports Andrew Miga of The Associated Press. Craker was also frustrated that he never got a hoped-for boost from the Obama Administration.
“I’m disappointed in our system,” he said. “But I’m not disappointed at what we did. I think our efforts have brought the problem to the public eye more. … This is just the first battle in a war.”
Craker, who said he has never smoked marijuana, started his challenge to the government’s monopoly on growing and distributing research cannabis in 2001. One garden at The University of Mississippi is the federal government’s only marijuana-growing facility.
But government-grown pot lacks the potency medical researchers need for breakthroughs, according to Craker. Besides, there isn’t enough of the Ole Miss-grown cannabis available for scientists across the U.S., or even if there is, the government isn’t letting them have it.