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Congress to DEA: Reconsider Monopoly on Medical Marijuana Research

Ganjarden

Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
Sixteen Members of Congress issued a letter yesterday to newly-seated Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to act "swiftly to amend or withdraw" an order that significantly curtails medical marijuana research in the United States. For more than forty years, the federal government has held a unique monopoly on the cultivation of marijuana for medical research, significantly impeding studies on the therapeutic qualities of medical marijuana and the ability to bring it to market. In February of 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner ruled to end that monopoly by claiming that expanded medical marijuana research was "in the public interest."

The Congressional letter sent to Attorney General Holder was authored by John Olver (D-MA) and states in part:

Since 2001, Prof. Lyle Craker, an experienced botanist of medicinal plants and soils, has been struggling to obtain a DEA license for a privately-funded facility located at the University of Massachusetts to grow cannabis (marijuana) exclusively for FDA-approved research protocols designed to evaluate its potential medical value. Forty-five members of the House of Representatives and Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, as well as a broad range of scientific, medical and public health organizations including the Lymphoma Foundation of America, the National Association for Public Health Policy, and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation have all written to DEA in support of Professor Craker's efforts.

Since 1968, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has contracted exclusively with the University of Mississippi to cultivate marijuana for medical research. Not only is this exclusive arrangement unlike that for any other Controlled Substance regulated by the federal government, but it is also unlike other countries that comply with the United Nations Single Convention Treaty on Narcotics. In her 87-page Opinion and Recommended Ruling, Administrative Law Judge Bittner concluded that the quality and quantity of marijuana supplied by NIDA was inadequate for the level of research that cannabis deserves.

"Given President Obama's commitment to end federal enforcement in medical marijuana states, it stands to reason that he would be in favor of expanded research into this important medication," said Caren Woodson, Director of Government Affairs with Americans for Safe Access. "His Department of Justice has the opportunity to place science above politics and to facilitate unfettered research into medical marijuana." The DEA took nearly two years to respond to Judge Bittner's ruling and with less than one week before a change in Administration, acting-DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart rejected the ruling and denied Professor Craker's application. The ACLU, which represents Professor Craker in this matter, is requesting reconsideration and an opportunity to respond to new evidence used by the DEA in its rejection.

Further information:
Yesterday's letter from 16 Members of Congress to Attorney General Eric Holder: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Olver_to_Holder_Letter.pdf
February 2007 DEA Administrative Law Judge ruling: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Craker_Ruling.pdf
DEA rejection of Professor Craker's application: American Civil Liberties Union : In the Matter of Lyle Craker - DEA Denial of Application
ACLU Motion to Reconsider: American Civil Liberties Union : In the Matter of Lyle Craker - Motion for Reconsideration

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With over 30,000 active members in more than 40 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.


News Hawk- Ganjarden 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Americans for Safe Access
Author: Kris Hermes
Contact: ASA*:*Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research
Copyright: 2009 Americans for Safe Access
Website: Congress to DEA: Reconsider Monopoly on Medical Marijuana Research
 
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JJ101

New Member
I'm glad Congress is actually choosing to open up a discussion about this. Now that they seem to have come to some sort of agreement on the stimulus package, they should be able to move on to issues like this.

I saw that the Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is asking people to give their opinion on the most important thing for Congress to do next. Then they are going to focus their efforts on getting Congress to accomplish what we actually want them to do.

What do you think Congress should do? Should they work to pass this legislation? Should they try to reform the entire drug policy? Or should they focus their efforts on completely different areas? Make sure to add your opinion so Congress can know what we want them to do next - Friends of the US Chamber
 

Keith Lake

420 Emeritus
420 Staff
More great news, thanks for posting this.

My favorite parts were the bits between the lines;

- Wake up DEA, we dems are in charge now
- Do you value your budget? Guess who controls appropriations now?
- Would you like to take a Mulligan?


Mulligan = a do over, for you non-golfers
 

FreakNature

New Member
I've been hurt before, so I'm hesitant to be too trusting, but I am feeling a sense of hope in the whole Cannabis situation in the USA.
 

Sour-Diesel18

New Member
I would love to feel as relieved as many of you do about significant changes taking place in the near future. But, I fear Obama is going to reneg on this promise as he becomes keenly aware of Big Government realities. You can already see him putting the breaks on his agendas as reality hits.

I still hold on to hope. But in the meantime I'm thankful for our dispensaries in Calif, and that I can feel reasonably safe smoking in the privacy of my home. If Obama does manage to get the DEA to stop their raids on our dispensaries, I suspect it wont be until the current economy problems arent such big news anymore. If he started talking about marijuana right now, the non-marijuana people would be all over him in a second.
 

michaelkaer

New Member
The Non-Marijuana people have no facts to back up their claims. From everything I have heard some this group, like the bull they call education in the D.A.R.E. program to the the outdated "research"(which has been proven to be extremely flawed and geared to make a bad mark against marijuana), They have nothing but tons of money backing them. We have to show the prez there is more money on the right side The truth.
 
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