Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Victory for the good guys

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Email from the Marijuana Policy Project:

Medical marijuana advocates won a major victory against the federal government yesterday: In a stinging 87-page opinion, the DEA’s own administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled that the DEA has been improperly blocking medical marijuana research.

The MPP grants program provided money for the lawsuit. News of the lawsuit victory was covered by more than 100 media outlets, including the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. You can read the Associated Press story here.

Right now, any researcher who wants to study the therapeutic effects of marijuana must obtain permission from the DEA and a supply of government-grown marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This has proven to be incredibly difficult, as NIDA’s mission is to investigate marijuana’s potential harms, not medicinal benefits, and the DEA is outright hostile to medical marijuana research.

Professor Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, working in conjunction with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, has been trying for years to solve this problem. Back in 2001, he applied to the DEA for permission to grow a private supply of marijuana for use in clinical research. The DEA delayed making a decision for nearly three and a half years and then finally rejected Dr. Craker’s application, fallaciously claiming that international treaty obligations prevented it from granting permission.

But yesterday, DEA ALJ Ellen Bittner ruled that the DEA had no basis to reject Dr. Craker’s application.

Unfortunately, the decision to authorize the clinical trials needed to persuade the FDA to approve marijuana as a prescription medicine is now in the hands of America’s top drug cop, DEA chief Karen Tandy.

Unlike in other areas of U.S. jurisprudence, the DEA administrator can ignore the ruling of the DEA’s ALJ. Indeed, this happened in 1988, when the DEA’s ALJ ruled that marijuana has medical value and should therefore be rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule II under federal law. The DEA administrator refused to do so and, as a result, federal law still incorrectly asserts that marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and LSD — and that cocaine and methamphetamine have more medicinal value than marijuana.

Prohibitionists have long argued that the 11 states that have legalized medical marijuana in the last 11 years should not have done so, claiming that the decision to allow for the medical use of a drug should be determined through FDA-approved clinical trials.

If Tandy refuses to authorize clinical trials or — more likely — she delays, this will provide MPP with an additional incentive — and a strong public justification — for spending a few million dollars to pass additional state-level medical marijuana laws through state legislatures and ballot initiatives.

To help MPP continue to fight the federal government, please consider making a financial donation today. Thank you …


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I’ve mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $2.4 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2007 at 11:26 am

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