Westworld: Why a Federally Licensed Marijuana Researcher Is Suing the DEA

Disclaimer: This study was supported by funding from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The content and opinions are those of the grantee/authors and do not represent the official views of CDPHE.

Summary: In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced it would increase the number of permitted cannabis growers for clinical research, expanding necessary options for scientists beyond the only federally legal cannabis supplier, which has resided as the only federally approved cannabis supplier since the ’60s. Since the 2016 announcement, the DEA has not issued any new permits for federally approved cannabis growers. In response to this delay, MAPS-sponsored researcher Dr. Sue Sisley filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, requesting that the Attorney General and the DEA be ordered to process applications submitted to grow cannabis for clinical research. “Maintaining only one federally legal drug supply for any clinical trials in the U.S. has been a huge impediment to research, because it’s not allowing scientists access to necessary options,” says Dr. Sisley. “We can’t just study from one supplier who seems to be limited from purchasing new genetics. And when there’s a monopoly for this many decades, it tends to breed apathy. There’s no real drive to respond to the public, to be responsive to the demands of scientists, no real need to innovate in the direction of what patients want.”

Originally appearing here.