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  1. jon-q
    The federal government officially declared that marijuana has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous and addictive drug. It will remain in the same class of drugs as heroin.

    This will not help California's effort to legalize pot for medical use. Voters approved Prop 215 several years ago, but it has never completely gelled with the feds who on occasion bust medical marijuana facilities.

    The Department of Justice declared Friday:

    DHHS concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.

    The decision comes almost a decade after medical marijuana supporters asked the feds to reclassify cannabis. The activists point to research that showed its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, like glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, and the side effects of chemotherapy.

    The LA Times spoke to advocates who criticized the ruling, but said it came with a silver lining because they could now move the issue to the federal courts.

    "We have foiled the government’s strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits, that marijuana really does have therapeutic value," Joe Elford told the Times. He is the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access and the lead counsel on the recently filed lawsuit.

    The Times notes that this is the third time that petitions to reclassify pot have failed to be approved. The first, filed in 1972, took 17 years for a ruling. The second was filed in 1995 and denied six years later. Both decisions were appealed, but the courts sided with the federal government.

    Lori Preuitt
    NBC Bay Area 9th July 2011


  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Lawsuit Forces Feds to Answer Medical Marijuana Rescheduling Petition

    WASHINGTON -- Less than two months after patient advocates filed a lawsuit compelling the federal government to answer a 9-year-old petition to reschedule medical marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today made official its denial of the petition in the Federal Register.

    The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), which includes patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), filed the petition in 2002 seeking to reclassify marijuana from its current status as a dangerous drug with no medical value, but never heard from the federal government until it received the denial.

    In its denial of the CRC petition, the government concluded that "marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision," recommending that marijuana remain in Schedule I. "Although this superficially looks like a defeat for the medical marijuana community," said Joe Elford, ASA Chief Counsel and lead counsel in the recent lawsuit. "It simply maintains the status quo," Elford continued. "More importantly, however, we have foiled the government's strategy of delay and we can now go head-to-head on the
    merits, that marijuana really does have therapeutic value." ASA intends to appeal the government's denial of the petition to the D.C. Circuit as soon as possible.

    Notably, the petition denial was sent to legal counsel in the pending lawsuit on June 30th, one day after the Justice Department issued a memorandum to U.S. Attorneys upholding federal threats of criminal prosecution against local and state officials for attempting to pass and implement their own medical marijuana laws. "The federal government is making no bones about its aggressive policy to undermine medical marijuana," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, "And we're prepared to take the Obama Administration to court over it."

    The denial also comes the same week as the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) is holding its 21st annual symposium in St. Charles, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. The symposium is sponsored in part by an array of pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and ElSohly Laboratories, Inc., the federal government's only licensed source of research-grade cannabis (marijuana) used in therapeutic studies. Currently, several pharmaceutical companies are asking the government to reschedule organically produced THC, the primary compound found in the marijuana plant, so they can sell a generic version of Marinol®, which is now made

    "The government cannot have it both ways, marijuana is either a medicine or it's not." continued Sherer. "If the government is going to sponsor a conference on medical marijuana, it should show the same deference to the millions of patients across America who simply want access to it." ASA and its grassroots patient base has been urging President Obama since he took office to develop a comprehensive federal policy that would address medical marijuana as a public health issue.

    Over the past few years since the CRC petition was filed, the two largest physician groups in the country -- the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians -- both urged the federal government to review marijuana's status as a Schedule I substance. In addition to new scientific discoveries occurring on a regular basis, numerous polls have shown that medical marijuana has the support of up to 80% of Americans.

    By ASA on Jul 8, 2011

  2. Terrapinzflyer
  3. Nanashi
    To the Feds-

    That's fucking ridiculous.
    Either admit its medical and make your synthetic garbage.(like marinol)

    Or keep your ignorance and keep saying it has no medical use.(like you have been)

    You cant do both, it makes you look fucking retarded and in turn, discredits you.
    Just like that reefer madness shit.

    We the people will not tolerate your procrastination and misdirection any longer.

    So how about you get your white coat pharmaceutical doctors together and actually spend a fucking minute finding out wether or not it really DOES have medical use instead of raiding sick people for their meds, then get back to us. If the study results come out negative(which it wont), and you find out that its as bad as you claim it is(its not), then I will stop smoking. But until then, make up your fucking mind, get your heads out of your asses, and make a fucking descision.

    Until then I kindly say-
    FUCK-OFF :)
  4. Wanderer
    Purelyscientific beat me to it on the use of marinol... Here's the quote from the document:

    Further, if the chemistry is not known, then why are there so many canabanoids which have been researched by the pharmaceutical industry and now available as RC's and touted as "legal highs"?

    Be well...
  5. Terrapinzflyer
    U.S. Rules That Marijuana Has No Medical Use. What Does Science Say?

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled on Friday that marijuana has "no accepted medical use" and should therefore remain illegal under federal law — regardless of conflicting state legislation allowing medical marijuana and despite hundreds of studies and centuries of medical practice attesting to the drug's benefits.

    The judgment came in response to a 2002 petition by supporters of medical marijuana, which called on the government to reclassify cannabis, which is currently a Schedule I drug — like heroin, illegal for all uses — and to place it in Schedule III, IV or V, which would allow for common medical uses.

    The DEA ruled that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," has a "high potential for abuse," and "lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision."

    Not only does this decision conflict with state laws, however, it also conflicts with a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the branch of the National Academy of Sciences charged with answering complex medical questions for Congress. Way back in 1999, the IOM said:

    Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation; smoked marijuana, however, is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances.

    Despite the issue of smoking marijuana, the IOM said that medical use of the drug is acceptable when other alternatives have failed.

    In addition, in 2006 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an investigational new drug application, or IND — which grants permission to study a drug with the goal of approving it for marketing if it is safe and effective — for Sativex, an inhalable marijuana-derived drug, which includes both THC and CBD, the main active components of cannabis. So, while one federal agency says the drug is too risky for use even under medical supervision, another is studying it for possible approval for marketing.

    The synthetic marijuana-based drugs nabilone and dronabinol (both used to treat nausea and vomiting) are already approved in the U.S. and have been placed in Schedules II and III, respectively. Schedule II includes drugs with high abuse potential like Oxycontin, while Schedule III includes milder painkillers like codeine combined with Tylenol.

    Since the IOM report was released more than a decade ago, the evidence for the medical benefits of marijuana and related drugs has continued to increase. In the last three years alone, cannabinoids have been found to help kill breast cancer cells, fight liver cancer, reduce inflammation, have antipsychotic effects and even potentially help stave off the development of Alzheimer's disease and reduce progression of Huntington's disease.

    Further, a 2011 review of the effectiveness of cannabinoids for non-cancer pain found "no significant adverse effects" and "significant" analgesic effects.

    Although the DEA judgment sounds like a setback for medical marijuana advocates, in one important sense it is an advance. The government had long delayed making a judgment on the petition, but now that it has, it makes it possible for advocates to appeal it in federal court. Now, that process can be set in motion.

    It's worth noting, though, that this isn't the first time a petition to reclassify marijuana has been filed and rejected. The Los Angeles Times reported:

    The first was filed in 1972 and denied 17 years later. The second was filed in 1995 and denied six years later. Both decisions were appealed, but the courts sided with the federal government.

    Still, if an appeals judgment were to be based on scientific evidence, rather than political considerations, this time around, it's easy to imagine a very different outcome.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

  6. talltom
    For years advocates, such as MAPPS. have been trying to get more "official" research done on marijuana. But as long as pot remains Schedule I this is not likely to happen. One study done in recent years -- at the University of Califonia, San Francisco -- approved by the DEA and FDA after years of effort by advocates such as MAPPS, did show the marijuana had medical use and was relatively harmless.

    The Obama administration's newly released drug control strategy slams states that have legalized medical marijuana, arguing that smoking any drug is unsafe--and that marijuana's medical benefits have yet to be evaluated by the FDA.

    "While there may be medical value for some of the individual components of the cannabis plant, the fact remains that smoking marijuana is an inefficient and harmful method for delivering the constituent elements that have or may have medicinal value," the White House's National Drug Control Strategy for 2011 says.

    The strongly anti-marijuana report comes on the heels of the Justice Department's decision against reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug. As The Los Angeles Times reports, the government took nine years to respond to marijuana advocates' request that they take into account studies that show marijuana has medical benefits and reclassify the drug. At the end of its review, the Justice Department held firm to its earlier decision that marijuana should be classified alongside other dangerous drugs such as heroin. The Americans for Safe Access group is now appealing the decision in federal court, the paper says.

    It's unclear what the consequences will be for people involved in the medical marijuana business in the 16 states (and Washington, D.C.) that currently allow it.

    The report states unequivocally that "outside the context of Federally approved research, the use and distribution of marijuana is prohibited in the United States," and the Justice Department recently suggested in a memo that state-approved marijuana dispensaries and growers could face prosecution.

    The report also made a detailed case against legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, an idea that has won the endorsement of a group of ex-global leaders who called the war on drugs a "failure." The report says that while tobacco and alcohol are legalized and taxed, neither provide a "net economic benefit to society," due to health-care expenses and various criminal justice costs, such as drunken driving arrests.

    Neil Franklin, the director of a pro-legalization group of former police and other law-enforcement agents called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said in a statement that the anti-marijuana tone of the administration is disappointing.

    "It's sad that the drug czar decided to insert a multi-page rant against legalizing and regulating drugs into the National Drug Control Strategy instead of actually doing his job and shifting limited resources to combat the public health problem of drug abuse," Franklin said.

    Liz Goodwin
    National Affairs Reporter
    The Lookout
    July 11, 2011

  7. trdofbeingtrd
    What a sick sad joke. How long is this farse going to continue? Just admit it's a money pit and get over with it already. What in the hell would you be scared of?

    Just make it legal already........stupid red tape is keeping people in jail and the higher ups getting money.......that I doubt we see, but it goes somewhere.

    Just make it legal, you have no issue with people driving drunk, or overdosing their liver on alcohol, but damned if they can smoke a plant.
  8. dabullsef
    Once big Pharma gets enough leverage to get the FDA or gov't, whatever to realize big pharma could make millions off weed and it's derivative compounds. They're all about the money. Surprised Pfizer isn't sueing america for the right to manufacture weed and rake in more money.
  9. Mitakuye Oyasin
    The DEA and related industries understand that it is just a matter of time before things chance radically for them and they are scared. They do not want to downsize, they do not want to give up their power and their huge funding and their ability to steal (forfeiture) houses and cars and boats and cash and property that has made them fat and corrupt. They realize that the War on Drugs will either end or be seriously defunded and deregulated very soon. The last time a Bill was voted on to end Cannabis Prohibition at the Federal level it failed by a handful of votes, the closest it has ever come. There is now a new Federal Bill <<HR 2306>> to end Cannabis Prohibition at the Federal level. It is a bipartisan Bill. Please tell your representa*tives to support this bill, call, fax, email and generally bother their offices until they support this bill and pledge to vote YES on this bipartisan Bill. Passage of this Bill will benefit most Americans and will provide lots of jobs and will help to end a lot of the gang violence that has crept across our border. Do anything and everything you can to support this Bill and keep after your local elected representatives in Government until they agree to support and vote YES on this Bill. We can do this people! Peace.
  10. Terrapinzflyer
    Marijuana Advocates Sue Feds After DEA Rejects Weed as Medicine

    Without medical marijuana, Scott Rozman swears, he wouldn't be alive today.

    At 30, Rozman was the youngest documented case of teratoma and angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that his doctors treated in the middle of his chest with equally aggressive rounds of chemotherapy. The chemo was so intense that he would throw up 40 to 50 times a day during treatment, unable to keep any food down. He lost 60 pounds during the first two months alone, making him potentially too weak to finish out his treatment

    "The doctors thought I was a dead man," Rozman, now 46 and a life coach in Guttenberg, N.J., said.

    But then Mary Jane came into his life.

    As a last-ditch effort, his doctors prescribed him marijuana because of its purported ability to stave off chemotherapy nausea. Not only was he able to keep food down again, the marijuana calmed him and helped him cope psychologically with the harrowing experience of the chemotherapy sessions. Weed had done for Rozman what no traditional anti-nausea medication could.

    The Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), however, would beg to differ.

    Although 16 states recognize marijuana as a drug with important medicinal properties, the DEA has shot down a petition to reclassify marijuana as such, citing that it has "no accepted medical use." The result is that marijuana will remain within the strictest categorization of restricted substances, alongside heroin and LSD.

    "As a doctor and medical researcher, I find the DEA's decision unfortunate," said Dr. Igor Grant, a neuropsychiatrist and director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California-San Diego. "It looks like they underplayed what positive information there is in the literature about marijuana. This policy is guided more by certain kinds of beliefs in the dangers of marijuana, at the expense of advance of medical knowledge for patients."

    The DEA's refusal, laid out in a June 21 letter from DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart to the organizations who filed the petition back in 2002, marks yet another bump in the road for patients, doctors and activists fighting for improved access to what they deem a vitally therapeutic medication.

    "The statement 'it has no accepted medical use' is simply wrong as a statement of fact," said Rob MacCoun, psychologist and professor of Law and Public Policy at University of California Berkeley Law School. "There is now considerable evidence showing medical benefits, at or exceeding standards of evidence for many other pharmaceuticals. Prescribing physicians in over a dozen states clearly see an accepted medical value for their patients."

    Americans for Safe Access, one of the organizations petitioning the DEA, already has plans to appeal the decision, taking the federal government to court, and if necessary, the Supreme Court, in order to argue for the medicinal value of marijuana.

    "Frankly, we're ready to go head to head with the Obama administration on this issue," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. "We have science on our side and we're hopeful the court will see it that way."

    Calls made to the DEA for comment were not returned.

    Why Reclassify?
    The original petition sent to the DEA in 2002 called for reclassifying marijuana into schedule III, IV, or V, all of which would acknowledge its potential for medical use and place its threat as a potentially harmful and/or addictive substance as less severe than class I and II drugs such as heroine, cocaine, amphetamines and morphine.

    Such a change means that marijuana would remain a controlled substance, but that its use in medical contexts would not be considered illegal under federal law, as is the case now.

    It would also make it easier for studies on marijuana's medicinal properties to take place. Grant of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research said that even with federal compliance with his research on medicinal marijuana, each study takes at least a year to even garner approval because of all the regulatory red tape surrounding use of a schedule I drug in trials.

    Berkeley's MacCoun said, "Schedule I is a barrier to research and to physician practice. Under federal law, it precludes physician prescriptions, putting state and federal laws in conflict for [those] states that have legalized medical marijuana."

    War on Medicinal Marijuana?

    The DEA's decision comes on the coattails of another move by the Department of Justice to reinforce federal restrictions on marijuana. U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole released a memo June 29 that reaffirms the department of justice's right and intention to prosecute large-scale medical marijuana cultivation operations and dispensaries even in states where they are operating in compliance with state laws.

    The Cole memo purportedly "clarifies" the landmark memo written in 2009 by then Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, which suggested that the DOJ would not bother to prosecute those involved in state-sanctioned medicinal marijuana distribution.

    Cole's clarification puts everyone from growers to pro-medicinal marijuana public officials within the DOJ's sights for prosecution. Only patients with prescriptions escape possible legal action from the government.

    This regulatory dance emerges because the states that allow medicinal marijuana are in conflict with the federal drug laws that criminalize possession of marijuana, regardless of its intended use and these federal laws trump those of the states.

    Obama campaigned with the promise not to interfere with states' rights in this area, so the Cole memo has been seen by marijuana advocates as the administration's backpedalling in response to the rapid proliferation of cannabis providers and distributors cropping up in recent years.

    "The government's position is very clear," Hermes said. "The number of raids on medical marijuana distributors is staggering, far beyond what the Bush administration was doing. And because the federal government won't acknowledge marijuana as a medicinal substance, those arrested have absolutely no defense they can bring in federal court."

    Hermes said be believes the "whole point" of the Cole memo was to create a "culture of fear" among growers, distributors, and patients.

    Mitch Woolhiser, 43, happens to be all three. Diagnosed with seizure disorder in 1995, the medicinal marijuana distributor from Edgewater, Colo., got his prescription after reading studies suggesting that marijuana has anti-seizure properties.

    He was able to wean himself slowly off the seizure meds that were straining his liver and today, years later, is seizure free. Now he provides medicinal-grade marijuana for at least 100 regular customers in the Denver area.

    "The Ogden memo kind of opened the floodgates here in Colorado and that's what brought people into the industry of distributing marijuana, including me," he said. "It's very regulated, we do lab tests for THC levels [the major active compound in cannabis] and that makes everything more regulated for the patients.

    "But if you go after the distributors, you're really just hurting the patients," he said. "You're taking away their ability to safely and conveniently get their medicine, and instead pushing them to buy it on the street."

    By COURTNEY HUTCHISON, ABC News Medical Unit
    July 12, 2011
  11. Terrapinzflyer
    Challenging the DEA's War on Medical Marijuana
    The federal agency insists it has no legitimate use. So are all the cancer, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis patients lying?

    Can I interest you in a cross-country trip? Its theme is Anti-Empiricism in America. The tour bus leaves from The Bay Area, where a lot of people still think rent control works. It proceeds through Salt Lake City, where the Evergreen Institute claims to cure same sex attraction, passes through Petersburg, Ky., home of the Creationist Museum, and terminates in Springfield, Va., where the DEA, a liberty impinging branch of the federal government, insists against overwhelming evidence that a plant called marijuana "has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision."

    That dubious determination is what keeps marijuana classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the only kind that cannot be prescribed by physicians. It is more tightly controlled than raw opium, methadone, and anabolic steroids, among many other drugs far more harmful to the human body, and more prone to abuse than cannabis.

    Is that something the DEA can defend in court?

    Americans For Safe Access (ASA) intends to find out. The advocacy group has spent years petitioning to change marijuana's designation so that doctors can prescribe it to patients. Last month, the DEA officially denied their request. In response, the group intends to sue. "The federal government is making no bones about its aggressive policy to undermine medical marijuana," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "And we're prepared to take the Obama administration to court over it."

    Though most people don't know it, there is precedent for suing the federal government for access to medical marijuana and winning. On the verge of going blind in his early twenties, the late Robert C. Randall turned to marijuana after discovering that it relieved the symptoms of his glaucoma. It worked. In order to maintain a supply, he grew marijuana on his Washington D.C. sun deck. Police arrested him. "I argued that any sane person who knew they were going blind, who knew that marijuana would prevent them from going blind, would break the law to obtain marijuana," he recalled. Surprisingly, the courts agreed, and soon afterward, he began receiving marijuana legally from the federal government, a fact he publicized, resulting in the termination of his supply.


    "They were willing to let me go blind to maintain the fiction that marijuana has no medical use," he said in the video above. He sued. Rather than go to court again, the federal government reached a settlement that required it to establish the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program. At its peak, 30 people were getting their marijuana legally from the federal government, the entity now claiming that the drug "has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision." George H.W. Bush ended the program, but as many as 5 patients are currently grandfathered in and still receiving marijuana.

    Here is one participant's story: VIDEO

    Would the head of the DEA have the guts to look him square in the eye and assert that marijuana has no legitimate medical use? Unlikely. Would Bill Bennett, the former drug czar and prohibition advocate, be willingly to publicly debate him? I doubt it. Here is what candidate Barack Obama had to say on the subject before he was president:

    I have more of a practical view than anything else. My attitude is that if it's an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma, or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate, because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else. I think there is a legitimate concern about not wanting people to grow their own ... but using medical marijuana in the same way with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that's entirely appropriate.

    You'd think a man who understands that the drug has medical uses -- who therefore believes that there are sick people who aren't getting a useful medicine due to the DEA's designation -- would push for change.


    Despite legal obstacles to conducting medical research with marijuana, there is all sorts of evidence (.pdf), beyond personal testimony, that it has legitimate medicinal uses. But I actually think that hearing the stories of actual medical marijuana users is as powerful as any study.

    I dare anyone to tell me this woman is just out to get high: VIDEO

    JUL 13 2011
  12. beentheredonethatagain
    voters here in california had the chance to legalize marijuana across the board, the people got it on the ballat for the january elections, but failed to gain enough support to get it passed.

    I am not quite sure how the federal level will be any different.
  13. Terrapinzflyer
    Do you have a reference for this? I am unaware of any vote ever taking place in congress to legalize marijuana, and indeed, the Marijuana Policy Project has said that Paul/Franks bill is:
  14. talltom
    When It Comes to Medical Marijuana, Obama's White House Is a Science-Free Zone

    President Obama came into office promising to reverse George W. Bush administration practices and elevate science over politics. He explicitly applied that principle to drug policy, an area long driven by ideology and prejudice. He quickly began to make good on the pledge by promoting three evidence-based drug policies: eliminating the ban on states using federal funding for syringe exchange programs to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis; reforming the racially unjust crack-cocaine sentencing disparity that punished crack offenses more harshly than powder offenses; and vowing to end years of federal interference in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.

    But as The Times' July 9 article makes dismayingly clear, the White House is putting the "science-free zone" sign back up.

    Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice issued medical marijuana guidelines to U.S. attorneys that are at best confusing and at worst a flip-flop on administration policy. The department’s much-heralded 2009 memo on the subject fulfilled candidate Obama’s campaign promise and established a principle that federal resources would not be wasted prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers who are in "clear and unambiguous compliance" with state medical marijuana laws. The department's update reiterates that the feds won't target individual medical marijuana patients but might bust large-scale, commercial medical marijuana providers. The memo unequivocally threatens federal prosecution of large-scale medical marijuana providers even if they are in compliance with state law, a significant step away from the principle at the heart of the 2009 policy. Disturbingly, the new "clarification" doesn't explain what the federal government considers to be the line between small and large-scale production -- likely an attempt to slow state-sponsored medical marijuana distribution programs while sowing anxiety and confusion for patients.

    Most recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration rejected a formal citizen petition filed nine years ago to reschedule marijuana to make it available for medical use. When the DEA considered a similar petition during the Reagan administration, the agency's administrative law judge concluded, "Marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people." The Obama administration’s rejection of the petition claims marijuana "has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States … lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision… [and] has a high potential for abuse." Lest one think the DEA's ruling is just law enforcement run amok, the White House released its 2011 National Drug Control Strategy earlier this week, calling marijuana "addictive and unsafe." That document devotes five pages attacking marijuana legalization and medical marijuana.

    The administration's disconnect from science is shocking. A federally commissioned study by the Institute of Medicine more than a decade ago determined that nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety "all can be mitigated by marijuana." The esteemed medical journal the Lancet Neurology reports that marijuana's active components "inhibit pain in virtually every experimental pain paradigm." The National Cancer Institute, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, notes that marijuana may help with nausea, loss of appetite, pain and insomnia. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia, home to 90 million Americans, have adopted laws allowing the medical use of marijuana to treat AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other ailments. The federal government itself cultivates and supplies marijuana to a handful of patients through its "compassionate-use investigative new drug program," which was established in 1978 but closed to new patients in 1992.

    Marijuana use, like any drug, certainly carries risks. When it comes to policy, however, these risks should be weighed against the harms associated with current marijuana laws. It is notable that every comprehensive, objective government commission that has examined marijuana throughout the past 100 years has concluded that criminalization of adult marijuana use does more harm than marijuana use itself. Moreover, the risks associated with marijuana use are demonstrably far less than those associated with Oxycontin, methamphetamine, morphine and other drugs currently available for medical use. It defies not just science but common sense for the Obama administration to be so aggressively anti-marijuana, especially for medical use.

    It is not too late to reverse this science-phobic trend. The Department of Justice's recent medical marijuana guidance is vague enough that the administration can clarify it intends to scrutinize only massive, rogue medical marijuana operations and that the DEA won't waste resources going after most providers in most states. The administration should clearly support responsible state and local regulations designed to make marijuana legally available to patients while enhancing public safety and health. If the federal government is unable to provide leadership in this area, then the very least it can do is get out of the way and allow local governments to determine the policies that best serve their interests. The president who promised change rooted in rational reflection shouldn't stand in the way of it.

    Stephen Gutwillig and Bill Piper
    LA Times
    July 15, 2011

    Stephen Gutwillig is the California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Bill Piper is director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

  15. Axalon
    My cynical self is increasingly becoming convinced that the DEA is keeping cannabis illegal for the sole reason that legalized marijuana would put most DEA employees out of a job.
  16. jon-q

    Why DEA is Against Legalizing Smoked Marijuana

    As the clamor for legalizing marijuana peaks in US, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) remains adamant on its stand that smoked marijuana is harmful. Since the prescription medicine Marinol, which is a synthetic form of Delta-9-THC, the chemical found in smoked marijuana that treats distressing symptoms, is available for the medical consumption, DEA believes that legalizing smoked marijuana will only lead to misuse.

    DEA's argument is supported by medical community including American Medical Association (AMA) and American Cancer Society (ACS) among many others.

    AMA is of the opinion that "cannabinoid-based medicines and alternate delivery methods" should be developed for the safe consumption of marijuana and discourages smoking or legalization of marijuana.

    American Society of Addiction Medicine's (ASAM) also rejects smoking as a means of drug delivery, and discourages "state interference in the federal medication approval process."

    The American Glaucoma Society (AGS) says "although marijuana can lower the intraocular pressure, the side effects and short duration of action, coupled with the lack of evidence that its use alters the course of glaucoma," are reasons enough not to review marijuana's status of "Schedule I controlled substance."
    Unlike AMA, AGS appeals for complete ban including the synthetic prescription medicine Marinol

    The American Cancer Society (ACS) also does not advocate smoking of marijuana for medicinal purposes but supports alternative delivery methods.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that legalization would put minors at a greater risk of drug misuse as monitoring will be difficult.

    The British Medical Association (BMA) says that legalization would "mislead the public into believing that the drug is safe."

    According to a recent report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy on teens, marijuana use can worsen depression and lead to more serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and even suicide.

    DEA blames the marijuana legalization lobby behind the uproar for medicinal marijuana's free use. According to a DEA report, Ed Rosenthal, senior editor of High Times, a pro-drug magazine, said in a public forum: "I have to tell you that I also use marijuana medically. I have a latent glaucoma which has never been diagnosed. The reason why it's never been diagnosed is because I've been treating it." He continued, "I have to be honest, there is another reason why I do use marijuana . . . and that is because I like to get high. Marijuana is fun."

    DEA reports a graphic story that occurred in California in the spring of 2004 which proves that legalization of marijuana is a much more complex issue than what the public perceives.

    14-year-old Irma Perez was "in the throes of her first experience" with the drug Ecstasy. After taking one Ecstasy tablet, she became ill and told friends that she felt like she was 'going to die'. Her teenage friends, instead of seeking medical care tried to get Perez to smoke marijuana. When that failed due to her seizures, the friends tried to force-feed marijuana leaves to her, "apparently because [they] knew that drug is sometimes used to treat cancer patients."

    Irma Perez lost consciousness and died a few days later when she was taken off life support.

    Amrutha Gayathri
    International Business Times 22nd July 2011
  17. Tillianne
    The Feds are full of it, and they say this because they are in bed with big Pharm. If more people had access to cannabis, they wouldn't need all those pills. This is not just my opinion either. Of course, the Feds already know this.

    This is a really big pet peeve of mine.
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