Medical Marijuana

Uncle Sam's Medical Marijuana Program


In a recent letter, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) asked Michele Leonhart, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, to explain her agency's use of "paramilitary-style enforcement raids" and threats of property forfeiture to suppress the medical use of marijuana in California. "Do you think the DEA's limited resources are best utilized conducting enforcement raids on individuals and their caregivers who are conducting themselves legally under California law?" he asked. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "agency spokeswoman Rogene Waite declined to comment on the questions Wednesday, saying only that 'the federal government does not recognize medical marijuana….The DEA, of course, would be part of the federal government.'"

If the federal government does not recognize medical marijuana, why does it send pot to patients? As the Marijuana Policy Project notes, tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the federal government's own medical marijuana program, under which four patients regularly receive joints from Uncle Sam. Theoretically, they are experimental subjects in a Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) Program, but the government has never bothered to publish any research based on their experiences. At its peak, the IND program for marijuana covered no more than a dozen or so patients, and in 1992 the George H.W. Bush admistration closed it to new applicants after receiving a flood of requests from AIDS patients. But the existing enrollees were grandfathered in, and those who are still alive continue to get a supply of marijuana grown by University of Mississipi scientists under contract with the U.S. government. "Most Americans would be shocked to know that the federal government supplies medical marijuana to patients while claiming that marijuana is a harmful drug with no medical value," says MPP's Rob Kampia. "If federal officials believe their own statements, they're knowingly poisoning four innocent people."

[Chronicle story via The Freedom Files]