Federal Court Throws Out Lawsuit Aiming to Prevent DEA From Banning Psychedelics

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) procedure for scheduling decisions as the agency aims to prohibit two psychedelic substances.

Judge Ricardo Martinez officially issued the dismissal order on Thursday, stating that the plaintiffs failed to comply with a court directive to secure legal representation by a specified deadline, resulting in the termination of the case. This decision follows the DEA’s formal cancellation of an administrative hearing regarding the classification of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) and 2,5-dimethoxy-4-chloroamphetamine (DOC) as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) about two weeks prior. The hearing was initially postponed by a DEA administrative law judge due to the now-dismissed lawsuit, leaving open the possibility of rescheduling.

Panacea Plant Sciences (PPS), the plaintiff, had contested the administrative hearing process leading to final rulemaking. They argued that the DEA’s reliance on administrative law judges for such decisions was unconstitutional, referencing U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

In Thursday’s order, the court did not address the substantive legal arguments but focused on PPS’s failure to obtain counsel by the May 16 deadline. The judge noted that the plaintiff had “more than enough time” to comply.

“Considering that, and the nature of this case—Plaintiff requesting a TRO to stay regulatory action, and that action being stayed pending the resolution of this case—the Court finds that Plaintiffs have violated the Court’s Orders, the local rules, the spirit of the local rules, and otherwise failed to prosecute this action under the above law,” Judge Martinez stated. “The Court further finds that Plaintiffs’ current request amounts to ‘an end run’ around the counsel requirement and that such request should not be granted given the procedural history of this case.”

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