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December 2004
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DEA blocks research again

Jacob Sullum at Hit and Run discusses it, and there’s much more detail in releases from MPP and Drug Policy Alliance:
The Marijuana Policy Project release headline lays it out in a powerful way:

DEA Ruling Makes FDA Approval of Medical Marijuana Impossible:
State and Federal Legislation Now Only Hope for Patients

This headline was clearly a rebuke of Justice Breyer’s suggestion in Raich v. Ashcroft that systems exist to get FDA approval that might be more appropriate than going to the Supreme Court.
Here’s the case in a nutshell:

On June 25, 2001, Dr. Craker, director of the university’s Medicinal Plant Program, filed an application with the DEA for approval to establish a facility that would produce marijuana for FDA-approved research. Currently, all marijuana for research in the U.S.must come from a National Institute on Drug Abuse-contracted farm in Mississippi. NIDA’s marijuana has been only inconsistently available to researchers and cannot be used for prescription sale. This makes FDA approval of marijuana effectively impossible unless an alternative source is made available, since testing would need to be done on the same product that is sold to patients.

The DEA’s Dec.10 letter to Dr. Craker said that approval of the application “would not be consistent with the public interest.”

One of my favorite lines in the denial letter:

Marijuana is the most heavily abused of all Schedule 1 controlled substances, and limiting the supply of marijuana under these circumstances is reasonable.”

This is absolutely ludicrous and they should be embarrassed to put it in a document. “Most heavily abused”? That’s only because their definition of abuse includes using something that’s illegal. And the notion that adding a controlled and guarded growing facility for research is going to somehow affect the availability of illegal marijuana nationally is also absurd.
They managed 3 1/2 years of stalling to write this stupid 6 page letter.
The good thing is that one more hurdle has been jumped so they can move to the next stage, which is an appeal to… drum roll please… the DEA.
Yep, now they can, within 30 days, file with the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration a request for a hearing.
Of course, the idea of all of this is for all the sick people who could be helped by medical marijuana to die before the governnment finishes stalling.

[Thanks to Scott for additional links.]

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