DEA Sued Over ‘Unlawful’ Delays On Psychedelic And Marijuana Public Records Requests Through FOIA

DEA Sued Over ‘Unlawful’ Delays On Psychedelic And Marijuana Public Records Requests Through FOIA
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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is being sued over repeated delays to requests for records related to psychedelics and marijuana. This comes amid a multitude of drug policy-focused legal challenges the agency has faced in recent years, including one that concerns DEA’s refusal to provide a doctor with access to psilocybin to treat terminally ill patients under “right to try” laws. But while connected, and involving some of the same plaintiffs and attorneys, this new suit centers on DEA’s alleged “unlawful policy” of delaying responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, specifically pertaining to psychedelics and marijuana documents that advocates say they’ve sought for legal and journalistic purposes. Attorney General Merrick Garland may have issued guidance on Justice Department FOIA policy in March, emphasizing that agencies should be responsive to requests in an open and timely manner, but DEA “flouts these principles of transparency and good government,” the lawsuit says. The legal challenge, filed in a federal district court in Texas on Tuesday, comes from a doctor who is part of a separate case contesting DEA’s interpretation of “right to try” laws as it concerns psilocybin, as well attorneys Matt Zorn and Kathryn Tucker, who both worked on that case. Each of the plaintiffs have laid out the reasons why they are uniquely impacted by DEA’s recalcitrance on FOIA requests. The agency has “adopted an unlawful policy and pattern or practice” of designating requests as “complex,” regardless of the actual complexity of the documents sought, the lawsuit says. In assigning the FOIA inquiries as “complex” because retrieving the documents in question might involve coordinating with outside offices, DEA has consistently said that the requests raise “unusual circumstances” that exempt them from the statutorily imposed timeline for responding. “This policy and pattern or practice rests on a perversion of FOIA’s…

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Source : DEA Sued Over ‘Unlawful’ Delays On Psychedelic And Marijuana Public Records Requests Through FOIA

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