A Rhode Island federal judge has referred a suit by cannabis researcher MMJ International Holdings Corp. alleging the Drug Enforcement Administration has delayed processing its application to import and study cannabis, saying the circuit courts are a better venue for the dispute.

In an order filed Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mary S. McElroy said while the law isn't clear on whether the appellate courts have exclusive jurisdiction over challenges to the DEA and attorney general's actions, they are available courts and on the balance MMJ will see little harm from dismissal because it can refile the case in the D.C. or First Circuit courts.

MMJ sued the DEA in April, alleging that the agency had been stonewalling its applications to import and study cannabis for potential uses in treating chronic illnesses for the past three years, even though the planned clinical trials had already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

According to court documents, the DEA allegedly completed its inspection of MMJ's facilities in October 2021 but has not moved on the applications. MMJ said …

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