Republican Lawmaker Criticizes Clearance of Tilray Cannabis Imports


Matt Gaetz, a Florida GOP congressman has lashed out at the Drug Enforcement Agency for allowing Canadian-based Tilray to import marijuana extracts into the United States.

Gaetz took to his Twitter account on Wednesday, a day after shares of Tilray raged over 40% higher, asking why the agency has failed to approve U.S. marijuana companies.

“Unbelievable…#DEA gives approval to import #cannabis compounds from Canada, while AG Sessions is sitting on 2 dozen+ applications from domestic manufacturers,” the legislator tweeted “What happened to ‘buy American, hire American’?”

Gaetz, a first-time Congressman and an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, is not happy with hitting out at the sloppiness of the Justice Department in acting on more than 24 pending licenses submitted by U.S. companies seeking to grow pot for scientific research.

The companies submitted the applications to the department before even Trump was elected, under a program initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, the department appears to be taking the applicants for a ride, under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In a rare move, DEA officials cleared the way for Tilray to import encapsulated cannabinoids to the University of California, San Diego. Researchers at the university will study the effectiveness of the cannabinoids in treating a neurological condition known as essential tremor. The conditional causes uncontrollable shaking and afflicts an estimated 0.4% of the general human population.

Gaetz is not hiding his support for American marijuana companies. The lawmaker recently drafted a bill that was passed by the House Judiciary Committee last week, which is likely to put more pressure on the AG and eventually force him to issue licenses to US facilities to grow pot for clinical studies.

The University of Mississippi is the only facility that is legally allowed to grow marijuana for research in the country. Researchers have relied on the university for more than five decades for weed supplies, but some have often raised concerns about the low quality of the plant. It is also often hard the researchers to get approval for supplies from the university.

Tilray stock was down $19.45, or 11.03% in pre-market trading on Friday. The shares closed the regular session on Thursday at $176.35.