Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona has accused the DEA of using underhanded tactics to keep its cannabis research application in “agency purgatory”.
It submitted an application to grow cannabis for clinical research purposes in 2016 and it grew frustrated with the Agency’s failure to process the submission. In June, SRI filed an action in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a writ of mandamus to order the DEA to process its application.
The Agency was instructed to respond by Aug. 28, 2019, but on Aug. 26 it processed SRI’s application along with 32 other pending applications. It also pledged to increase the number of marijuana growers that are federally authorized to conduct cannabis research.
Yet SRI remains decidedly unconvinced of the DEA’s willingness to allow it to cultivate cannabis for research purposes. In a new filing this week, it urged the D.C. Circuit Court not to close the case and to hold onto jurisdiction over the matter.
Its filing says that it simply sought an order compelling the DEA to guarantee that the application would be processed promptly. It claims that all it has received is “more delay – the very delay that prompted the filing of this action”.
SRI says the controversy is now more intense than ever and the case is not moot, so it urged the court not to toss the case.
For more than 50 years, a facility at the University of Mississippi has been the only federally legal source of cannabis for research purposes. The clamour has grown for this monopoly to end, as critics claim there is not enough marijuana to go around and that the quality it yields is not sufficient enough for research purposes.
SRI is one of 33 organizations that hope to cultivate marijuana for clinical research purposes going forward, and it has accused the DEA of “egregious delays” in handling applications.
Earlier this week, the Agency announced it would increase the legal production in the U.S. by 30% to 3,200 kg in 2020 in order to boost research purposes. Representatives Donna Shalala and Matt Gaetz have also just introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to reclassify cannabis at a federal level in order to improve research efforts, showing what a hot topic marijuana research is right now.