Alibi V.28 No.35 • Aug 29-Sept 4, 2019 

Baked Goods

Cultivating Science

SRI lawsuit promising

Baked Goods logo
Rob M.

The march toward scientific progress in the world of weed continues as researchers press for more opportunities to conduct research. Shocking, I know. The federal government might have its hand forced when it comes to approving new marijuana cultivation licenses. A lawsuit filed by Dr. Sue Sisley, a researcher at the Scottsdale Research Institute, against the US Drug Enforcement Administration for failing to license new marijuana cultivators is reportedly making progress.

Sisley made headlines earlier this year as the US researcher to complete first ever Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial of cannabis as a treatment for PTSD. In the past, she complained about the quality of the marijuana provided by federal sources for the study, and in June, the SRI filed a lawsuit with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, accusing the DEA and the US Attorney General of dragging their feet in processing the institute's cultivation application. The suit called the delay “unlawful, unreasonable and egregious.” What's really crazy here is that Sisley isn't asking them to approve the application, she just wants it processed.

See: The only federally approved cannabis producer is the University of Mississippi, and it's well-known that the marijuana cultivated by the institution is subpar at best. In 2016, the DEA announced it would be opening the doors to other cultivators and began accepting applications, but they haven't made another peep about it since. The SRI reportedly applied for a license immediately upon hearing the announcement and have been pressing the agency for a response for almost three years. All they heard was crickets.

Sisley isn't even blaming the agency. She says the institute has had a positive relationship with the local DEA office—that they seem supportive of her work. “We are also suing the Attorney General, not just the DEA because my gut tells me that the DEA is not responsible for impeding this,” she said to the Arizona Capitol Times. The lawsuit seems like a final, desperate move.

But according to Sisley, the case has grown a pair of legs. Her hotshot Texas lawyers are even taking the federal agency on pro bono. “Groups are offering to submit amicus briefs … we are in good shape to succeed here,” she told reporters.

SRI's Houstonian lawyers, Matt Zorn and Shane Pennington, have reportedly filed a petition for a writ of mandamus. “We’re asking one judicial branch of government to order a different branch of government to do something, and they don’t like doing that,” Zorn told Leafly. He says it's rare for a writ of mandamus to be granted but is apparently desperate enough to try.

The DEA has been given until the end of August to respond to the lawsuit and explain why it hasn't followed through.

On a related note, US Rep. Matt Gaetz, of Florida, spoke to reporters last week at a radio town hall meeting in Pensacola and addressed the need for more federally sanctioned research of cannabis. “I will be meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr in the coming weeks to discuss the Department of Justice’s approach to unlocking more research grants,” said Gaetz. “So that we can have American innovation applied to our health care in a way that can get people off of some of these devastating opioids and painkillers, and on to a more natural product.” Gaetz is a noted proponent of medical cannabis.

Strain Corner

We visited the neon green Organtica building (4001 Menaul Blvd. NE) to celebrate the end of the dog days. There's nothing better than easing back in your favorite chair with a cool indica at-hand to watch the summer recede into the horizon. Well, theoretically, anyway. It 's still hot as hell with no end in sight, thanks to climate revision™. The summer is a blight upon this feeble animal, and no amount of air conditioning is ever going to make that better. Marijuana helps, though.

To help me over the hump days of summer, I packed a bowl of Sexdriver Kush (THC: 22.4%—$12/gram). I chose this strain because its name conjured terrible images that I can't put into print. It smelled swampy and musky but had a floral and sweet taste.

I can't say I felt all that sexy after smoking, but I did turn into a sleepy pile on the couch. I left half of a burnt bud in the pipe and laid my head back. I closed my eyes—

My wife kicked my foot. I started. “What's happening?” I blurted.

“You're snoring,” she said.

“I was just clearing my throat.”

“Take your glasses off.”

While I would recommend Sexdriver Kush to anyone suffering from pain or insomnia, I don't know if it had any direct effect on my sex drive. There might have been a spicy dream in there somewhere, but I couldn't tell you. For me, those moments were just a deep blank chasm that went on for miles.

I yawned, removed my glasses, and fell back in.

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