Friday, July 23, 2004

Scientists sue feds over MMJ research

This story has been well covered. Pete at Drug WarRant has a good post on the subject, but since it's happening in our backyard, we want to take a quick look at it as well.

Lyle Craker, Ph.D., director of the Medicinal Plant Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, filed an application with the DEA for approval to establish a facility that would produce marijuana for U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved research back in June of 2001. The DEA, despite support from our senators, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and Congressman John Olver and others, has been ignoring it every since.

Currently the only approved facility for research grade cannabis is on a NIDA-contracted farm in Mississippi. Now NIDA does not want marijuana to be classified as a medicine, so the quality of their product is immediately suspect and they are not producing enough of the herb to support any meaningful research.

Joining is the suit is Valerie Corral, a government-approved MMJ user and co-founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana and Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an organization recently granted permission to conduct ecstasy research. The need for the legal recourse is clear.

"This litigation is necessary because of the federal government's obstructionism regarding medical marijuana research," said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "The government regularly claims that if marijuana were really medicine, it would already have been approved by the FDA, and that more research is needed, yet they have not only failed to support medical research, they've actively obstructed it."

Corral sums up the problem well.

"As a patient, each day brings new struggles," said Valerie Corral, founder of the WAMM medical marijuana collective raided by the DEA in 2002. "Instead of providing relief for critically ill Americans, our government refuses to allow the research that would free sick and dying members of our collective from living in fear of an administration that views medical assistance as criminal activity."

The terminally ill are not criminals. It's time for our government to reassess this policy and cease wasting our hard-earned tax dollars on persecuting our suffering citizens.

You can read the complaint here.


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