The 2016 passage of Proposition 64 changed State of California law to allow adults aged 21 years or older to grow, possess and use marijuana for nonmedical purposes. Although legal in California, UC is subject to the same federal rules and regulations as before the passage of Proposition 64.

The current federal framework categorizes cannabis as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), meaning that federal regulations under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) do not permit the use, production, processing, sale or growth of cannabis. There are two exceptions that allow for certain research activities albeit with strict federal controls:
  1. Research may be conducted under special licensing requirements established by the DEA, using only cannabis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Drug Supply Program.
  2. The Agricultural Act of 2014, known as the Farm Bill, creates a limited research exemption for industrial hemp (a very low potency form of cannabis) by permitting industrial hemp growth or cultivation by an institution of higher education or a State department of agriculture.
Tight federal restrictions and conflicts between federal and state regulations mean that UC must look to federal law to guide policies regarding research on, use of and possession of cannabis. RPAC guidance is intended to provide information for UC researchers and research administrators on permission ways to conduct cannabis research. 

Contact: Agnes Balla at or (510) 987-9987.

RPAC Memo 19-02 PDF

March 19, 2019

This Memo provides information on the risks of accepting funding from the marijuana industry, and proposes a pilot program when considering accepting funding from the marijuana industry.

RPAC Memo 18-01 PDF

July 24, 2018

This memo provides information for researchers and research administrators regarding legal and policy issues related to marijuana research conducted at UC.

RPAC Memo 17-01 PDF

January 27, 2017

Information for UC researchers and research administrators regarding the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Proposition 64, which became law on January 1, 2017, and this new law’s effect on marijuana research conducted at UC.