Several scientists say the government is breaking federal law by keeping them from conducting medical research on marijuana.

The lawsuits target the Drug Enforcement Administration, HHS, NIDA, and the National Institutes of Health.

The case claims the federal government has unreasonably delayed acting on a three-year-old application by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to grow marijuana for federally approved researchers. It also calls for the government to act on a year-old application by Chemic Laboratories in Canton, Mass., to import marijuana from Dutch authorities to research a technique that could deliver marijuana as medicine without smoking it.

“Every day DEA delays the applications necessary to initiate research is another day that the patients with illnesses susceptible to treatment using marijuana must either suffer otherwise remediable pain, or risk arrest to use marijuana as medicine,” said the scientists behind the suits.

Currently, all marijuana used for research in the United States must come from a federally contracted farm in Mississippi. The researchers say the crop of marijuana designated for research use is not always available and is of low quality.

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