The End of Sisley’s Challenge to the DEA
Well, it’s over (for now) for Suzanne Sisley. As we covered last year, Sisley, et al. v. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, et al., Case No. 20-71433, was an appellate case filed by a group of scientists and veterans that had sued the DEA in May 2020. They, like so many others, argued that the DEA’s legal basis for keeping marijuana classified as Schedule I drug was unconstitutional – raising questions about the DEA’s reliance on scheduling standards that were not only arbitrary, but allegedly misinterpret federal law.
Interestingly, last summer, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had issued an Order denying the DEA’s motion to dismiss the petitioner’s lawsuit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies for the time being. As a recap, the exhaustion of remedies doctrine requires that administrative or other non-judicial avenues be pursued and “exhausted” prior to entering the court system. Based on this doctrine, the courts have regularly dismissed these petitions and left the issue to the DEA, which has continued its longstanding practice of essentially ignoring any and all petitions to reschedule marijuana for decades. At the time, the fact that the Ninth Circuit leaned towards reviewing Sisley’s arguments on their merits was a sign