Medical Marijuana

Result-Oriented Science

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Science Editor in Chief Don Kennedy notes that medical marijuana activists are using the Data Quality Act (DQA) to demand that the Department of Health and Human Services correct its false statements about the medical utility of cannabis, a step toward reclassifying the drug so it can be legally prescribed. The law requires federal agencies to ensure the "quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity" of the information they disseminate. To his credit, Kennedy, who headed the FDA in the Carter administration, says "it's already clear that HHS has violated its own DQA guidelines" by insisting that marijuana "has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." But he casts doubt on his commitment to empiricism by saying the DQA lawsuit, which was filed by Americans for Safe Access, "turns the tables on DQA." In what sense? The law, you see, is typically used by "industry or industry organizations" to challenge regulations (a bad thing), but now it is being used by "health activists" to help patients who can benefit from medical marijuana (a good thing).

That's one way of looking at it. Here's another way: In both cases, the people challenging the government are seeking to roll back (or forestall) restrictions on freedom they believe are unjustified. And in both cases, they are saying the government has its facts wrong. Whether it does or not is an empirical question that should not hinge on whether one thinks "industry" is icky or has warm feelings toward "health activists."

NEXT: Superhuman Imagination

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  1. But if the government can’t falsify data ONDCP has no job. lol.

  2. Steven Pinker’s Sanctimonious Animal strikes again. (Sorry, but I won’t stop pimping him until he’s a household name.)

  3. I swear, my head is this close to fricking exploding.

  4. Better smoke up, Warren.

    But we all know that if marijuana were legal, society would rot, Satan would walk the earth, and something about The Children? being one step away from crippling heroin addiction because of the “gateway” effect. And a fetus. And Freedom?. Or whatever.

    Say, pass me a beer, will you? Drafting these anti-marijuana laws is thirsty work.

  5. Don Kennedy is a hack. His editorials are painfully biased and unscientific. He should be writing for a lefty rag, not a scientific journal.

  6. The Children? being one step away from crippling heroin addiction because of the “gateway” effect.

    My gateway drugs were beer, tobacco, and espresso.

  7. We elect people who believe intelligent design is “an alternative theory” deserving consideration. We are then surprised that the government can’t do science competently. Or honestly.

    Hmmm, You think there might be a connection?

  8. We elect people who believe intelligent design is “an alternative theory” deserving consideration.
    Well, that’s what they’re told, so what else are they supposed to believe? How many of them have a realistic opportunity to check it out?

    And of people who vote for them, what, should they not vote for them just because of that one belief?

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