Marijuana Monopoly Maintained

Yesterday, with a week to go in the Bush administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration officially rejected an application to establish an alternative source of marijuana for medical research, a role currently monopolized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The application was filed seven years ago by University of Massachusetts at Amherst plant scientist Lyle Craker and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is trying to facilitate research aimed at making marijuana an FDA-approved medicine. In turning Craker down, the DEA rejected a 2007 recommendation by DEA Adminstrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, who said allowing competition with NIDA would be in the public interest. Bittner noted that the DEA's treatment of marijuana is anomalous, since every other Schedule I drug can be produced by government-licensed independent laboratories. The need to get marijuana from NIDA has prevented some researchers from performing studies even after they were approved by the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Allen Hopper, litigation director at the ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project, which supported the Craker/MAPS initiative, had this to say:

With one foot out the door, the Bush administration has once again found time to undermine scientific freedom. In stubbornly retaining the unique government monopoly over the supply of research marijuana over the objections of DEA's own administrative law judge, the Bush administration has effectively blocked the proper regulatory channels that would allow the drug to become a wholly legitimate prescription medication.

Drug warriors insist that medical marijuana advocates jump through the usual regulatory hoops to get cannabis approved as a medicine. At the same time, they do whatever they can to make that impossible. Removing these senseless obstacles to research is just the sort of moderate reform that Barack Obama—who has promised to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids and has said doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana if research confirms its safety and efficacy—should be able to get behind.

I discussed Craker's application in 2003 and noted Bittner's ruling in 2007.

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  • Naga Sadow||

    I'm less than surprised. Now cue Juanita to tell how this is a good thing.

  • ||

    Medical researchers, eh? Like, PhDs and MSs?

    How do you get through eight to ten years of college without figuring out a way to score?

  • Barack Obama||

    who has promised to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids

    Promise, remember when I said I'd break you last?
    I lied.

  • ||

    Barack Obama authorized a raid on a medical marijuana dispensary?

    Link?

  • ||

    They should have to risk their lives driving up to the ghetto like everyone else.

  • Ska||

    Driving to the ghetto for weed? Bush league my friend.

    Dust, maybe. Pot, not a chance.

  • ||

    Barack Obama authorized a raid on a medical marijuana dispensary?

    Every one that happens after he is inaugurated is authorized by him.

    So, no, he hasn't authorized any yet. But he will, he will.

    And will he ever call them off? I've gone on the record already:

    Aint. Gonna. Happen.

  • Taktix®||

    More important that the drug, it's in the Government's interest to keep these completely arbitrary policies in place.

    If everything makes no sense, then they can be as arbitrary as they want, and it will simply be just the status quo...

  • Naga Sadow||

    Tony,

    No one goes to the "hood" for weed you fool! You go for crazy shit like crack or dust.

    Joe,

    It was a line from "Commando".

  • Naga Sadow||

    Damn your quick typing skills, Ska!

  • ||

    Dr. Goldstein?

    Yes, Dr. Armstrong?

    Go order some more McNuggets. The guy in the blue paper hat keeps looking over at our booth.

    Yes, Dr.

    Where the hell IS he? His text said he'd meet us here two hours ago!

  • Kolohe||

    Barack Obama authorized a raid on a medical marijuana dispensary?

    Link?


    I will bet 50 reasonbucks that there will be a federal raid on a marijuana dispensary within the next 12 months. Of course, you will not find anything that indicates Obama's personal involvement.

  • ||

    But he will, he will.

    You mean like how he isn't going to close Guantanamo?

  • ||

    Naga,

    I know the source of the quote. I'm asking the commenter to back up his assertion that Obama was going back on his stated policy.

  • BDB||

    Yes, joe, he will. There will be raids on medical marijuana clinics by the feds under his administration.

  • ||

    I guess we'll see.

  • BDB||

    Drug policy really is one place, at the Presidential level, where there is not a "dimes worth of difference" between the parties.

  • ||

    Removing these senseless obstacles to research is just the sort of moderate reform that Barack Obama-who has promised to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids and has said doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana if research confirms its safety and efficacy-should be able to get behind.


    We shall see how this plays out as well. Again, I'm not from Missouri, but this is another chance for the chosen one to show me.

  • Taktix®||

    You mean like how he isn't going to close Guantanamo?

    If ending these raids had the political will that closing Gitmo had, they would have ended already.

    Apples and Oranges, joe...

  • ||

    If ending these raids had the political will that closing Gitmo had, they would have ended already.

    Ahhh, but the GITMO detention center remains open. The retarded son is unable to admit to mistakes.

  • ||

    BDB,

    On the party level, maybe, but different individual politicians are better or worse on the issue.

    I've seen nothing to suggest that Obama's position on this issue has changed, but let's face it, stopping the DEA from raiding pot clinics isn't exactly revolutionary.

    J sub D,

    Good answer.

  • Kolohe||

    What exactly is Obama's policy on marijuanna decriminalization and/or federalism? I can't find anything on Obama for America. Change.gov is acting squirrelly right now, but the search feature yieldes zero results on a search for "marijuanna". The marijuanna policy project had some nice things to say about Obama back in May, but I haven't seen anything more recent than that. Steve Chapman had a fairly decent argument (yrly) that Obama was all over the place wrt to this issue. So serious question: what *is* Obama's current policy position?

  • ||

    "DEA Adminstrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner"

    I had no idea DEA had its own judges...

  • ||

    Change.gov is acting squirrelly right now, but the search feature yieldes zero results on a search for "marijuanna".

    Did you try spelling it correctly? :-)

  • Kolohe||

    Actually, no, I did not.

  • ||

    Joe, you are dead wrong. True Believer. Here's something that could be construed as back peddling on his "promise", that he made.
    2 words.

    Eric Holder.
    It was Obama's choice, he could have chosen anyone he wanted. Do you know who this man is.
    Guess not. This appointment in itself, contradicts his not very sincere position that he wanted the stoner left to buy. Buy they did, and now I get to say I told you so. Some people must get really good stuff! Even this kush I got, you still couldn't convince me that Obama was gonna do anything directly to move cannabis forward socially. If you believe/believed that, you must really be on your dope. WTF?

  • IceTrey||

    Plus, that NIDA pot is ditch weed.

  • ||

    Q: "Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?" S. Man, Denton

    A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

    But this does not mean that he is in favor of using paramilitary-style raids on dope smokers, nor does it mean that he will continue to push for Federal marijuana arrests.

  • ||

    The Kush,

    "He wanted the stoner left to buy" was never Barack Obama's position.

    Nor did I ever say it was. Nor did he ever say it was. In fact, when asked explicitly during the primary debates, Obama stated that he was opposed to marijuana decriminalization.

    So, it's not so much "true believer" as "know what I'm talking about."

  • ||

    But this does not mean that he is in favor of using paramilitary-style raids on dope smokers, nor does it mean that he will continue to push for Federal marijuana arrests.

    Oh, was that subject of the thread? Because I thought it was about raids on marijuana dispensaries in states that had legalized them.

    Keep on moving those goalposts, though.

  • ||

    moving these senseless obstacles to research is just the sort of moderate reform that Barack Obama ...should be able to get behind.



    Still wishing for ponies Jacob? Christmas was last month, time to take down your Obama Tree and haul it out to the curb.

  • Paul||

    by DEA Adminstrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, who said allowing competition with NIDA would be in the public interest.

    So what it comes down to, is someone no one ever met before thought it was in the public interest to allow competition. Meaning that someone, somewhere else that we've never met before probably doesn't think it's in the pubic interest.

    See where the problem is in all of this?

    You mean like how he isn't going to close Guantanamo?

    I'll believe Gitmo is closed when the last Janitor turns in his key.

    Ie, I will not accept any "strong objections during committee" type excuses.

  • Paul||

    Joe, you wanna buy some naked pictures of Obama on a medical marijuana raid?

    They're grainy, but I swear they're authentic.

  • ||

    NONONONO, joe! Keep the goalposts where they are! That was a pre-emptive strike.

  • ||

    I'll believe Gitmo is closed when the last Janitor turns in his key.

    And I'll believe that Barack Obama is going to continue the Bush administration's raids on legal marijuana dispensaries when the first caregiver is marched out in handcuffs.

  • Robert||

    Now that I've read DEA's order, I have to ask what there is to be gained by MAPS's being permitted to mfr. mj, when HHS (of which both NIDA & FDA are part) still has to give permission to anyone to receive the material for use. I don't believe NIDA acts in a vacuum, but that it is HHS as a whole that decides, in which case having a supposed competitor to NIDA (which gives its product away for free or at cost) makes no difference at all. It's not as if MAPS would actually get to decide who would get Craker's pot.

  • ||

    I think Obama will stop the Feds from raiding medical marijuana, by keeping them busy somewhere else. The DEA will have plenty work under the Obama admin without having to go after the medical pot shops. The drug war is a cash cow no one in government really wants to slaughter.

    I think Obama will order the closing of the prison at Gitmo. It could take a year or two to actually close it.

    I kinda feel bad for naval station Guantanamo Bay. Bush creating the prison there has given Gitmo a bad name.

  • Barack <b>HUSSEIN</b> Obama||

    DEA Adminstrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner

    Bittner? I don't even know her!

  • cunnivore||

    Removing these senseless obstacles to research is just the sort of moderate reform that Barack Obama-who has promised to call off the DEA's medical marijuana raids and has said doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana if research confirms its safety and efficacy-should be able to get behind.

    Thank you. I needed a good laugh.

  • cunnivore||

    If there are no med MJ raids by the DEA between Jan 20, 2009 and July 19,2009, I, cunnivore, will buy those ugly-ass Obama commemorative plates and proudly display them on my hearth for all to see.

    Say, do they make bowls, just in case?

  • ||

    I think Obama will order the closing of the prison at Gitmo. It could take a year or two to actually close it.

    I have no doubt he will issue the order. I even think they will close the prison at Gitmo within a year or so.

    By transferring the prisoners to functionally identical facilities here in the states.

    Is that Change You Can Believe In?

  • ||

    "Doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana IF research confirms it's safety and efficacy"

    IF is a really big word!

    I could fly IF I had wings!

  • ||

    The DEA was wrong to deny UMASS a license to grow its own cannabis for research. Cannabis has huge therapeutic potential and our government should not hinder independent research. We should be learning all that we can about this plant, its dangers and benefits.

    The DEA is the wrong agency to handle cannabis. It should be passed to the ATF and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. These are dire economic times. Instead of pumping $15 billion annually into law enforcement and prohibition, we could open up entire new industries with industrial hemp (farming, textiles, petroleum alternative, etc.), medical marijuana production and distribution, to bring relief to seriously sick and dying people, and even a recreational cannabis industry like alcohol and tobacco. Imagine the jobs created and tax revenue generated from these industries. Let's create jobs and revenue.

    Regulating and taxing cannabis would eliminate the "gang" element associated with cannabis grown on our public lands where they use dangerous pesticides and fertilizers and divert streams, and are often armed and dangerous and a threat to hikers and hunters. Let's eliminate the Al Capone's of cannabis. Legalize.

  • ||

    Ilike weed... and over half of the country wants it legal... plus who gave this shit hole of a country thep power to play god and keep something natrual from all life... god made it to make us happy...ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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