SXSW 2022

Sue 'n the DEA: Breaking the 50-year NIDA Monopoly


It started at SXSW in March 2019. Dr. Sue Sisley presented at SXSW describing her experience for the only FDA-approved controlled trial examining safety/efficacy of smoked marijuana flower in combat veterans with severe post traumatic stress disorder PTSD. But she had a problem: the marijuana the government forced upon her to use was schwag and DEA would not process her application to cultivate her own cannabis.

After the presentation, attorney Matt Zorn approached her to see if he could help with her legal problem. Together, with attorney Shane Pennington, Sue took on the DEA in several lawsuits--and won. In the process we uncovered secret government documents, helped change national federal policy regarding marijuana research, and winning one of a few coveted cultivation licenses.

Other Resources / Information


  1. Why marijuana continues to be classified as a Schedule I drug.
  2. The importance of marijuana clinical research and why clinical research has stalled in this country.
  3. How we used strategic litigation against the government to force the government's hand, dislodge a stalled process, and bring about policy change.



Sue Sisley, President And Principal Investigator, Scottsdale Research Institute

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Presentation
  • Track: Civic Engagement
  • Track 2 Health & MedTech
  • Level: Intermediate

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