The Federal Government ‘Ardently Supports’ Medical Marijuana Research?! Who Knew?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 5, 2011

    Last month we shared with you a letter from Tennessee Congressman Steven Cohen — co-sponsor of HR 2306: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 — to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, which called upon the Obama administration to support changing cannabis’ status as a schedule I prohibited drug and to respect the laws of states that have legalized it for its medical utility.

    “We should not deny the thousands of Americans who rely on the benefits that marijuana provides,” Cohen wrote. “There is no evidence that marijuana has the same addictive qualities or damaging consequences as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine and should not be treated as such.”

    On Monday, October 3, Drug Czar Kerlikowske responded to Rep. Cohen. In his reply, summarized here, Kerlikowske alleged that the Congressman’s concerns regarding the federal scheduling of cannabis are unwarranted because, “We ardently support research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine.”

    Kerlikowske added, “In fact, the federal government is the largest source of funding for research into the potential therapeutic benefits of marijuana, and every valid request for the use of marijuana for research has been approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

    Really? So how does the Drug Czar explain this headline — from Saturday’s edition of The Washington Post?

    Marijuana study of traumatized veterans stuck in regulatory limbo

    Getting pot on the street is easy. Just ask the 17 million Americans who smoked the federally illegal drug in 2010.

    Obtaining weed from the government? That’s a lot harder.

    In April, the Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its kind study to test whether marijuana can ease the nightmares, insomnia, anxiety and flashbacks common in combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    But now another branch of the federal government has stymied the study. The Health and Human Services Department is refusing to sell government-grown marijuana to the nonprofit group proposing the research, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

    That’s right, the Drug Czar is claiming that the federal government ‘ardently supports’ medical marijuana research just days after the US government formally denied a request for an FDA-approved clinical trial to assess cannabis’ therapeutic safety and efficacy.

    Wait, it gets worse. The ugly truth is that the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the agency that oversees 85 percent of the world’s research on controlled substances, is on record stating that its institutional policy is to reject any and all medical marijuana research. “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use,” a NIDA spokesperson told The New York Times in 2010. “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

    For once a government agency was telling the truth regarding cannabis. NIDA categorically does not support such research — despite the Obama administration in 2010 publicly issuing its “Scientific Integrity” memorandum stating, “Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration.”

    That is why an online search of ongoing FDA-approved clinical trials using the keyword “cannabinoids” yields only six studies (two of which have already been completed) worldwide involving subjects’ use of actual cannabis despite hundreds of favorable preclinical and observational studies clearly demonstrating its benefit.

    Just how blatant is Kerlikowske’s latest lie? Consider this. According to the White House’s 2011 National Drug Control Strategy, released in July, only fourteen researchers in the United States are legally permitted to conduct research assessing the effect of inhaled cannabis in human subjects. That’s right, only fourteen! And even among this absurdly limited group of investigators, most are involved in research to assess the drug’s “abuse potential, physical/psychological effects, [and] adverse effects.” So says the White House.

    Ardent support for medical marijuana research? Please Gil, don’t make us laugh.

    80 responses to “The Federal Government ‘Ardently Supports’ Medical Marijuana Research?! Who Knew?”

    1. Michael Hennigan says:

      I am endocannabinoid deficient. I need cannabinoids for my chronic pain and skin cancer. But I refuse to get hooked on big pharmas cure. I must move to a more compassionate state! Missouri is for hillbillies.

    2. chad says:

      You’ve misunderstood the drug czar’s words. The key word was “components” and what he probably meant is they support pharmaceutical industry research into specific chemicals. In his view there’s no contradiction between his statement and “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

      It’s a great tactic. Pretend to be progressive while actually just aiding the industry.

    3. Little Gypsy says:

      Tell a big enough lie and the people believe it. The governmet stymies any and all efforts to find uses for medical marijuana. NIDA said it all…they only look for negatives.

    4. Dave says:

      clearly, the whole cannabis plant itself, is useful.

      certain components are for medicine.
      certain components are for food.
      certain components are for recreation.
      certain components are for sacrament.

      which quality is most prominent depends on the particular strain (sativa/indica/ruderalis) and its specific CBD:THC ratio.

      i can imagine going into a whole foods market or local farmer’s market to find the cannabis section, offering whole plant leaf, root, stem, flower bud, etc. in categories of low thc/high cbd, equal thc/cbd, and high thc/low cbd ratio.

    5. Brandon says:

      I hope the Government isn’t holding out and taking the opportunity to “take the credit” for cannabinoid-based medical inovations. That would be a huge slap in the face to the oppressed, minority groups working so hard.

    6. Buggsy13420666 says:

      The only things the FEDS are worried about is the quagmire of injustices against the citizens of our country over MARIJUANA PROHIBITION. Now the FEDS are acting like GODS of SCIENCE and the corrupt system of the drug war going on within our borders, THE UNICORNIZATION OF AMERIKA. If the FEDS act so ignorant on the medical use of marijuana, where in the hell do they get the research for drug testing of marijuana and is approved by FDA? Is the testing as rigorous as BIG PHARMA DRUGS which kill and maim people, or is it just a double standard for FEDERALISM. Now it’s spare the rod and spoil the adult. We now live under a system of HOMELAND SECURITY-PATRIOT ACT and MARIJUANA PROHIBITION and BIG BROTHER with the ORWELLIAN MENTALITY. Yhe FEDS have the rod and all we we have is a twig to defend ourselves like rats in a cage.

    7. TheOracle says:

      Kerlikowske, you have got to be fuckin’ kidding me!

      This is a blatant example of Doublethink,Newspeak and both of them together Doublespeak!

      You should just fuckin’ resign and cite the reason why as being forced to lie and make a total ass of yourself to the world. Really! You didn’t think the intelligentsia was not going to call you on it, did you? Really?!

      You fuckin’ suck. Get out!

    8. Jed The Head says:

      I have also read that the IRS is going after any and all providers of medical cannabis for back taxes. If your business includes a controlled substance i.e. cannabis you are not allowed any standard business deduction from your gross income. They are out to put all of them out of business. Sounds a lot like Hoover and Capone. Shame on Obama and his thugs for preying on the sick in this country. Pure evil!!!

    9. David762 says:

      A quick Question:
      How can you tell when Drug Tzar Gil Kerlikowske is lying?

      The correct Answer(s):
      (1) When his lips move; AND
      (2) When a policy paper is released over his name.

      “Hell of a job, brownie … err, I mean Gil. You get paid (very well) to lie to the American People, ostensibly to keep ‘us’ safe from ourselves but really to protect the profits of Monopoly Capitalist Kleptocrats.”

      Unfortunately for the Powers That Be, the Federal government has pretty much lost the respect of most citizens when it comes to ‘transparency in government’ and ‘government truthfulness’. That assessment is the culmination of nearly 80 years of Prohibition of Cannabis and the widespread persecution of minorities that this policy has engendered. The lies, the obfuscations, the greed, and the violence associated with the government’s enforcement of their perpetual ‘War of (Some) Drugs’ against Cannabis is only the most blatant and egregious example of the government’s misogyny against its own citizens.

      What this country needs are Citizen Truth Councils all across this land with subpoena powers, along with such tools as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, if only to begin the task of reforming our government. And at what point in time did bribery of public officials become the norm, guised as campaign contributions, rather than both illegal and immoral?

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