Scientists at the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) have filed a lawsuit against the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for failing to approve their application to cultivate marijauana. The scientists submitted their marijuana grow application three years ago and are still awaiting a response.
The University of Mississippi is the only establishment in the country that has ever been approved to legally grow cannabis for research. However, the cannabis supplied by the school is inadequate, and has caused stalls in research for many years now. That’s not even considering the fact that the cannabis being grown there has been criticized for being of extremely poor in quality.
In 2016, the DEA conceded and began accepting applications from cultivators. The agency accepted 25 applications, but former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly put the brakes on this process as part of his personal war on weed. A year later, the DEA announced that these applications were still under review. Scientists and legislators wrote countless angry letters to the DEA and Sessions demanding that these applications be considered.
Another year came and went without progress. Last August, the DEA authorized the cultivation of 5,400 pounds of research weed, more than five times the amount it authorized in previous years. The research community assumed that this announcement would entail the approval of additional growers, as the massive increase in production seemed beyond the capabilities of the University of Mississippi.
Even if the DEA opened up applications for more licensed cannabis for use medicinally over two and a half years ago, they have received over 25 applications and not one of them have been approved, including SRI’s application. According to Sue Sisley, SRI head researcher, she and her colleagues say that the quality of pot they have received from the University of Mississippi isn’t enough for their research into the potential therapeutic effects of the drug for treating PTSD among veterans.
The federal government has been providing cannabis to US scientists ever since 1968, but this government-sanctioned grass is notorious for being some of the lowest-quality schwag that researchers have ever encountered. The quality of this product – which is apparently full of stems, seeds, mold, and pathogens – is so bad that many researchers have flat-out rejected it for fear that it would destroy the validity of their research.
Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Northern Colorado discovered that government weed is significantly lower in both THC and CBD than legal or black-market bud, and is genetically closer to hemp than it is to marijuana.
This low-quality government weed is produced on one single farm operated by the University of Mississippi, the only institution that the DEA has authorized to grow pot for research purposes. As the interest in medical cannabis has skyrocketed over the years, scientists have begged the feds to allow other, non-government cultivators to create a quality product that they can actually use for research.
The Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) said it submitted an application to cultivate its own cannabis to DEA about three years ago, around the time that the agency announced that it would be accepting applications for additional research-grade marijuana manufacturers. That application — as well as several letters from members of Congress inquiring about the application process — have gone ignored, the SRI said.
“While most states in the U.S. recognize that cannabis has medical value, the DEA says otherwise, pointing to the absence of clinical research,” Sue Sisley, principal researcher at SRI, said in a press release. “But at the same time, government regulations and bureaucracy prevent researchers like SRI from ever doing the clinical research the DEA has overtly demanded.”
They also claim that the DEA is purposely ignoring their application, which is preventing them from studying cannabis. “While most states in the US recognize that cannabis has medical value, the DEA says otherwise, pointing to the absence of clinical research,” Sisley said. “But at the same time, government regulations and bureaucracy prevent researchers like SRI from ever doing the clinical research the DEA has overtly demanded.
“DEA’s delay in noticing or responding to SRI’s application is unlawful, unreasonable, and egregious,” wrote the SRI in their argument. “It contravenes the letter and spirit of the Controlled Substances Act, seriously harms the SRI, and hampers SRI’s efforts to help suffering veterans through clinical research.”
“Everyone – including the agency – agrees that this research is important and that the need for research is generally urgent,” SRI writes. “Here, DEA can act with little expenditure of resources.”
SRI also included Attorney General William Barr in its suit. He’s repeatedly said that he supports expanding cannabis research opportunities and would look into the status of DEA’s application process, which was reportedly inhibited by the Department of Justice under his predecessor, Jeff Sessions.
Sue Sisley is the principal researcher for the Scottsdale Research Institute, which has filed a lawsuit in June 2019 to get a court order for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to approve an application for marijuana to be used in a clinical trial for veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Dr. Sue Sisley, a family practice doctor and SRI’s principal researcher, explained that “there’s been no progress, despite years of lobbying, so we are now seeking a remedy through the courts.
“While most states in the US recognize that cannabis has medical value, the DEA says otherwise, pointing to the absence of clinical research,” Sisley continued. “But at the same time, government regulations and bureaucracy prevent researchers like SRI from ever doing the clinical research the DEA has overtly demanded.”
While the US government does its best to underhandedly undermine legitimate scientific research into cannabis, other countries such as Canada and Israel not only encourage studies with high-quality buds, these nations’ governments actively subsidize beneficial cannabis research, too.
Research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis has been hindered by the plant’s Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act. Because a lack of marijuana grade research has restricted the collection of data for so long, the full effects of marijuana are ill-understood. Still, the amount of cannabis research has increased exponentially since 2000, and studies that have been completed have yielded fascinating results.
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