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April 2005
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HHS responds… not.

OK, so Health and Human Services finally responded to the Americans for Safe Access Data Quality Act complaint regarding their information about medical marijuana (background).
After several self-awarded extensions to their response, they essentially came up with a complete non-response response.
Shorter version: We found a loophole that allows us, instead of actually responding as required by law in a timely manner, to provide input into another process that has almost no time limit, so we can delay telling the truth indefinitely.
Here’s the critical part of their response:

Both the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the HHS Information Quality Guidelines provide that federal government agencies may use existing processes that are in place t address correction requests from the Public. In the case of marijuana HHS currently is in the process of conducting a review in response to the petition for change that was submitted to DEA in October 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), an association of public-interest groups and medical cannabis patients that includes the ASA. [2] In the course of the review, HHS will evaluate an the publicly available peer reviewed literature on the efficacy of marijuana [punctuation and spelling errors in original]

What a load of crap. It’s because the re-scheduling process has historically gone for years and years of delays that we hoped the Data Quality Act would give us some ammunition, with its specific requirement of 60 day response time. Now they’re completely folding their (unspecified) response into the interminal delays of re-scheduling.
Now we have to see if ASA will appeal the “response.”

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