2 min read

Renowned Researcher Sues DEA in Attempt to Reschedule Cannabis

June 11, 2020

Groundbreaking cannabis researchers, Sue Sisley, M.D., has initiated a lawsuit against the DEA regarding their scheduling of cannabis. Along with three military veterans, Sisley filed legal action against the Drug Enforcement Agency in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Cannabis Research

Sisley–of the Scottsdale Research Institute- has made headlines previously for her continued research into cannabis’ effects from PTSD. She expects to publish the results later this year. 

Furthermore, she has openly decried the low quality cannabis produced by government growers. This is a major point of contention as the scientific community can only use cannabis provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 

The Lawsuit vs. DEA

The case has some bearing as the DEA has manipulated the legal definition for decades. Think about it. Research is necessary to move cannabis out of the Schedule 1 listing, however research cannot be done with Schedule 1 drugs. 

The NIDA/DEA hurdle represents a barrier to efficient cannabis research. The lawsuit requests a review of the DEA interpretation that set things into motion over four decades ago. Their review is as such:

  1. Is a drug’s chemistry known and reproducible?
  2. Are there adequate safety studies?
  3. Are there adequate and efficient studies?
  4. Is the drug not accepted by qualified experts
  5. Is the scientific evidence widely available?

Flawed Drug Scheduling Rules

The DEA-created standard had no basis and rests on outdated case law. The lawsuit challenges the rule the DEA uses to evaluate scheduling. In reality anyone intending to study cannabis is in a catch-22. Lowering the scheduling to a schedule III classification would not legalize cannabis outright, but it would open the doors for better cannabis products and scientific research. 

So long as the DEA disregards the realities of their cannabis standards, we will continue to see a slow pace in cannabis research. The five point system used by the DEA–it will be argued in the case– did not contain the relevant scientific knowledge from the beginning.