Meet the man who’s the federal government’s pot dealer

Mahmoud ElSohly oversees acres of marijuana plants in the deep south, a swath of the country the tide of medical marijuana legalization has yet to touch. But he’s not running an illegal operation — he’s a professor of pharmaceutics and head of the marijuana program at the University of Mississippi, which holds an exclusive contract with the government to produce marijuana for research.

Since ElSohly took charge of the program in the early 1980s, the landscape of marijuana research has changed dramatically. To meet the changing demands of researchers, for example, the program has developed specific strains with high levels of THC (a component that gives people a high) and cannabidiol, which has shown promise in antiseizure medications.

But ElSohly is about to see the biggest shakeup to his program in its 40-plus years of existence. ... read more at: