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Washington issues its first marijuana research license

Marijuana plants with their buds covered in white crystals called trichomes, are a few weeks away from harvest in the “Flower Room” at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center Sept. 15, 2015, in Albion, Ill. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)
Marijuana plants with their buds covered in white crystals called trichomes, are a few weeks away from harvest in the “Flower Room” at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center Sept. 15, 2015, in Albion, Ill. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press)
Associated Press

OLYMPIA – The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board says it has issued the state’s first license to grow marijuana for research.

Verda Bio Research in Seattle says it will be growing cannabis to conduct basic research on some of the plant’s lesser-known compounds.

Chief Executive Jessica Tonani says Verda intends to breed cannabis plants to emphasize compounds that currently exist only at low levels, so that those compounds can then be studied for potential therapeutic uses.

In addition to meeting the same requirements as other marijuana businesses, applications for research licenses are subject to an independent scientific review.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which has long hindered researchers’ access to the plant. Some states that have legalized marijuana, including Washington, Oregon and Colorado, are offering cannabis research licenses as a way to improve access within their states.

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