Marijuana

Lawsuit Against DEA Over Medical Marijuana Research Dismissed

Lawsuit Against DEA Over Medical Marijuana Research Dismissed
Jacqueline Collins
A federal court has tossed out a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration that claimed the agency was stalling medical marijuana research.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed a lawsuit filed in June by the Scottsdale Research Institute that claimed the DEA was hampering federally approved marijuana studies by stalling cannabis cultivation applications. Led by Dr. Sue Sisley, the Scottsdale Research Institute had hoped that the lawsuit would force the U.S. Attorney General and the DEA to process its application to grow marijuana for clinical research.

The suit had argued that the DEA has created a monopoly around federally licensed marijuana research by requiring that researchers only use marijuana from the University of Mississippi for their studies. According to Sisley, federally licensed marijuana researchers are limited to low-grade cannabis without proper variety, which can compromise studies about medical marijuana and its effects, and how the plant is realistically grown and used. Sisley says that the poor quality of the official test marijuana affected the accuracy of her studies on the plant's potential treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It’s been more than three years since the DEA  announced that it was opening the process to consider additional producers, but so far, none have been approved. In August, the agency announced it would begin to "facilitate and expand scientific and medical research for marijuana in the United States" by expediting the review of those applications, but no timeline was given, and no applications have been approved since then. Instead, the DEA announced a public comment period, which ended yesterday, October 28. Now, the DEA has ninety days to rule on the applications.


In dismissing the suit, the appeals court ruled that with its recent actions, the DEA has successfully executed its responsibilities by moving along the application process, making the case "moot.”

But if there are additional delays, one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit told Marijuana Moment that it could return.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell