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10 Years Ago Today: U.S. Government Admits Marijuana Is Medicine

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 17, 2009

    Today marks the 10-year-anniversary of the publication of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark study on medical cannabis: Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.

    When the White House commissioned this report in response to the passage of California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996, many in the mainstream media, and many more lawmakers, were still skeptical about marijuana’s potential therapeutic value.  The publication of the Institute of Medicine’s findings — which concluded that cannabis possessed medicinal properties to control pain and nausea, and to stimulate appetite — provided the issue with long-overdue credibility, and began in earnest a political discourse that continues today.

    So what have we learned in the ten years following the release of this groundbreaking study? As I write today in both Reason Magazine online and in The Hill.com’s influential Congress blog (post your feedback here):

    In Ten Years, Medical Marijuana Has Gone From Fringe to Mainstream — So Why Is It Still Against The Law?
    via The Hill.com

    We’ve affirmed that the use of medical marijuana can be used remarkably safely and effectively.

    We’ve learned that cannabis possesses therapeutic value beyond symptom management, and that it can, in some cases, moderate disease progression.

    We’ve discovered alternative methods to safely, effectively, and rapidly deliver marijuana’s therapeutic properties to patients that don’t involve smoking.

    We’ve learned that restricted patient access to medicinal cannabis will not necessarily result in higher use rates among young people or among the general public.

    And finally we’ve learned — much to the chagrin of medical marijuana opponents — that in fact the sky will not fall if we grant patients the right to use it.

    Today, the only practical impediments prohibiting the legal use of medical marijuana are political ones.  The Obama administration should heed the advice of the Institute of Medicine and initiate clinical trials regarding the medical use of cannabis, and it should remove federal legal restrictions so that states can regulate marijuana like other accepted prescription medicines.

    40 Responses to “10 Years Ago Today: U.S. Government Admits Marijuana Is Medicine”

    1. thomas Vance says:

      That is all well and good but medical marijuana legalization will not end prohibition. Only the end of prohibition will stop the guns and violence. The war on drugs is the financial engine that pays for it all. Untill that ends there will be NO change in America.

    2. mcduffee420 says:

      yeah!!!!!! they should but for now they wont maybe later but not soon enough

    3. crash says:

      WHEN will the goverment let go and quit recking people’s lives the medical research is there. I THINK that there is to maney narrow minded people out there that just won’t face the fact’s.

    4. Darrell Kilgore says:

      I’ve known for 39+ years that MJ is medicine.

    5. MIKE STROUP says:

      IT IS, AMONG OTHER SIMILAR THINGS, CRUEL, UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND INHUMANE TO DEPRIVE PEOPLE OF TREATMENT THAT WORKS FOR THEM. AND AS WITH ALL MEDICAL THERAPY, ONLY THE PATIENT, NOT THEIR PHYSICIAN OR THE GOVERNMENT, IS EVEN CAPABLE OF KNOWING FOR SURE WHAT DOES OR DOES NOT WORK BEST FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL. HOW WOULD THE RELIGIOUS-INSPIRED MORAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ELITE THAT TAKE MY MONEY AND SEEK TO IMPOSE THEIR WILL ON ME, FEEL IF THEY WERE TOLD WHAT MEDICATIONS THEY MUST OR COULD NOT USE? I EXTEND TO THEM THE COMMON HUMAN DECENCY OF LIVING MY LIFE WITHOUT INTERFERING WITH THEIR LEGITIMATE RIGHTS. IF THEY WILL NOT RESPECT MY FREEDOM AND LIBERTY IN KIND, AS IS RIGHTFUL AND APPROPRIATE, I CHOOSE TO LIVE FREE REGARDLESS. I REFUSE TO LIVE EVEN A MOMENT OF MY LIFE AS A SLAVE. I AM NOT A WARD OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSED TO UPHOLD, NOT VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS. I AM AN AMERICAN PATRIOT YEARNING TO LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY. “GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH.”

    6. Obama drops ‘war on drugs’ rhetoric for needle exchanges

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/
      16/drug-policy-obama-needle-exchange

      “The Obama administration signalled today that it was ready to repudiate the prohibition and “war on drugs” approach of previous presidents, and steer policy towards prevention and “harm reduction” strategies favoured by Europe.”

      Click the link to continue reading.

    7. Vote like a Beast says:

      I remember Clinton’s drug czar Barry Mccafferty say in 1996 that this study would be the one to decide this issue once and for all. See a pattern here. A. People petition the government to legalize weed.
      B. The Government says we need to study first, after all we’ve never done one.
      C. Blue ribbon committee is appointed by the powers that be to “study the issue”
      D. Against all expectations Blue ribbon committee concludes that current drug laws are insane/recomends reform.
      E. People cheer!
      F. Government didn’t get the answer it wanted, says we need to do a study, AFTER ALL WE’VE NEVER DONE ONE BEFORE.
      It happened with Nixons Schaffer commission, it happened with this Clinton/Mccafferty commission in 1996 and more recently with British Prime minister Gordon Brown “STUDY”. Someone out there can name the Canadian version of this story.
      RESOLVED : YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO TALK THE GOVERMENT INTO LEGALIZING WEED. THE ONLY PATH TO CHANGE IS TO DEMONSTRATE POLITICAL WILL TO CONGRESS. AS IN VOTING ONLY FOR REFORMERS AND NEVER EVER VOTING FOR ANY PROHIBITIONIST. IF NORML COULD DEMONSTRATE JUST 5% OF THE VOTE IN CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS, THE RIGHT TO GROW, SELL, AND CONSUME MARIJUANA WOULD BE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
      Support for the war on drugs is BI-PARTISAN because both the Republicans and the Democrats know that you will vote for their candidates for other issues. As long as you “Agree to disagree on some issues while working together on others” Marijuana will always be the issue your government disses you on.
      I’ll get you started. NO ONE WHO SUPPORTS REFORM SHOULD EVER VOTE FOR Rep. Joe Rice, D-Glendale, and in the Senate by Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder.
      In the War on Drugs these two are in the SS. Worst of the worst.

    8. brittany says:

      yayyyy go medical marijuana…. now we need it for alll 50 states

    9. Joe Joe says:

      Can u say yes to that!i can

    10. rob says:

      Today is the 10th anniversary of a government sponsored study proving the benefits of medical marijuana. However, We still have what appears to be mentally handicapped state senators such as in Illinois State Rep. Patricia Bellock (R-Hinsdale) who said she opposes the bill because it lacks support from the greater medical community. How can senators be so blind to what’s right in front of them and be willing to put their image on the line in a case like this knowing they are full of lies!

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