A Crack in the Government's Marijuana Monopoly


The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are trying to break the government's monopoly on marijuana used in medical research, have more on yesterday's favorable decision by a DEA administrative law judge. Judge Mary Ellen Bittner recommended approval of a MAPS-sponsored application from University of Massachusetts at Amherst plant scientist Lyle Craker to privately produce marijuana for research. She based her decision on her findings "that granting Respondent's application would not be inconsistent with the Single Convention [on Narcotics], that there would be minimal risk of diversion of marijuana resulting from Respondent's registration, that there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes, that competition in the provision of marijuana for such purposes is inadequate, and that Respondent has complied with applicable laws and has never been convicted of any violation of any law pertaining to controlled substances." If DEA Administrator Karen Tandy follows Bittner's recommendation (a big if), Craker can begin growing cannabis—the only Schedule I substance that can be legally produced for research only by the government—as part of MAPS' effort to get FDA approval for marijuana as a medicine.

Here are my 2003 article on Craker's petition, background documents from the case, and Bittner's decision.