• Raffi Garnighian

New Lawsuit Challenges Marijuana’s Schedule 1 Status

Dr. Sue Sisley at Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI), along with three military veterans, has filed suit against the DEA challenging the application of a test developed in 1992 used to classify drugs based on their medical applications. Currently, usage of the 1992 test is what keeps marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Dr. Sisley and SRI are committed to studying the benefits of cannabis used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans and argue that the low quality of the marijuana they are permitted to use does not allow scientists to successfully study these effects. Many researchers, in addition to SRI, have long complained about the “catch 22” of studying the medical effects of cannabis due to the DEA’s requirement that only government-grown marijuana may be used for medical studies.

Currently, only one facility in the country (located in Mississippi) is permitted to grow marijuana for medical research and the resulting product has very low levels of THC. In 2016, the DEA announced that it would consider applications from outside cannabis cultivators to supply non-government grown marijuana for medical research purposes in order to remedy this. Finally, after years of dragging its feet, the agency announced in March of this year that it would be making fundamental changes to its policies in order to expedite the authorization of outside growers.


Through the lawsuit, Dr. Sisley hopes to facilitate this process even further by having marijuana reclassified as a Schedule III substance under the CSA which would allow researchers to more easily obtain commercial-grade flower and would hopefully pave the way to more serious conversations about federal legalization.


Raffi Garnighian is a published author and Colorado and New York licensed attorney at Wysocki Law Group, P.C. Emily Bennett is a law student at the University of Denver School of Law and assisted in the publication of this article.


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