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American Medical Association reverses - supports removing marijuana from Schedule 1

This is huge news.

According to Americans for Safe Access:

HOUSTON — The American Medical Association (AMA) voted today to reverse its long-held position that marijuana be retained as a Schedule I substance with no medical value. The AMA adopted a report drafted by the AMA Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH) entitled, “Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes,” which affirmed the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and called for further research. The CSAPH report concluded that, “short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.” Furthermore, the report urges that “the Schedule I status of marijuana be reviewed with the goal of facilitating clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods.”

The drug warriors have long used the fact that the AMA hasn’t supported reclassifying marijuana as a major proof of their position (despite the fact that many other medical organizations have supported it.

The unreleased draft of their statement is not an outright endorsement of medical marijuana, but it’s a huge step.

Our AMA urges that marijuana’’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product.

Update: The Los Angeles Times has an excellent article on this [Thanks, DavesNot] today: Medical marijuana gets a boost from major doctors group

As commenters have noted, the government response is almost pathetic

Reaction from the federal government was muted.

Dawn Dearden with the Drug Enforcement Administration said: “At this point, it’s still a Schedule I drug, and we’re going to treat it as such.” The Food and Drug Administration declined to comment.

In a statement, the office of the White House drug czar reiterated the administration’s opposition to legalization and said that it would defer to “the FDA’s judgment that the raw marijuana plant cannot meet the standards for identity, strength, quality, purity, packaging and labeling required of medicine.”

It’s still going to take a major act (by Congress or the Administration) to remove marijuana from Schedule 1, but the wall built up by the government over decades to protect their unconscionable stance keeps getting chipped away bit by bit. I believe that they know it’s no longer a question of “whether” but only of “when.”

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40 comments to American Medical Association reverses – supports removing marijuana from Schedule 1

  • Chris

    HOLY SHIT! Really?!

  • Dreau Preau

    Finally! The medical community may soon see the light the pharmaceutical industry has kept hidden for decades! Good stuff.

  • kaptinemo

    Despite what they say publicly, it’s obvious that they know which way the wind is blowing now, and which side of the bread has the butter on it. they see it coming.

    It’s interesting that one of the lone voices of sanity during the 1937 farce belonged to the AMA. A certain Dr. James Woodward (who, by the way, had been a bitter foe of Anslinger and had had many verbal skirmishes with the arch-racist many times long before the actual prohibition took place) spoke up in defense of cannabis based medicines…and caught political Hell for it, thanks to a deeply partisan Congress, which was as badly divided then along party lines as it is today.

    History repeats itself endlessly, it’s only the players and the dates that change, not the dynamics. And what comes ’round, goes around.

    This time, it’s the cannabist’s turn…

  • Servetus

    This latest campaign by the AMA to reclassify cannabis is amazing considering the organization’s arch conservative past.

    In the 1930s, the AMA campaigned against HMOs, and then against Medicare in the 50s and 60s. It wasn’t until 1968 that the AMA allowed African American physicians to join AMA branches and thus qualify for hospital employment. It still rejects single payer health care.

    I never expected the AMA to move on marijuana’s drug reclassification, even if it was to encourage more medical research on cannabinoids. Thanks to the AMA’s latest move, there will be a windfall effect as more state governments legalize medical cannabis. This is truly good news for many medical patients in the U.S.

  • Now, if all the doctors who smoke pot recreationally would just speak up we just might get somewhere…

  • Nick Zentor

    The DEA won’t like it if they lose the free-reign they have enjoyed to persecute, bust, prosecute, and reap huge profits from their war on cannabis, not to mention how a possible reclassification of cannabis might affect their projected budget and tax-payer supplied funds. I don’t suppose it would surprise anyone here if they applied strong opposition to this AMA proposal.

  • R.O.E.

    Now what will the prohibs do,they lost and arguement. I think the prohibs will try marginalize the AMA’s position as they do any arguement . Prohibs always come up with something. I wouldnt put it passed them to say that those in the AMA that suppoet this are smoking it.

    This is great news however. I , as I know all of you do, want intensive study done. I especially want study done in the area of cancer research. Many of us have witnessed what cancer does to people. My father died of cancer, it was horrible to watch this. We can all agree that we hope to have medicine in the future to cure cancer so we dont have to suffer this terrible desease. This news is very great for people who suffer other deseases also.

    Cannabis , as we know ,can be used for many things. Fuel for one.

    I just read a story from the IEA, stating that there isnt enough fossil fuel to last. In the next 25-30 years,fuel consumtion will increase 40%. So here we sit with a easily renewable fuel source, our reserves are being depleted while prohibs keep us from using hemp to fix this problem. When we make hemp legal,this will drive oil prices down,way down. How many of these politicians and prohibs have stock in oil? Any way I ramble.

    Look out prohibs,your friends are becoming our friends. What will you do? Make it illegal for anyone to talk positively about cannabis? Damn nazi’s…return to your history,get out of our future.

  • DdC

    Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1
    Without the internet the censored programmed media would have kept playing the game. Now the information about Nixon and the true dangers and medicinal benefits posted on hundreds of sights make them look just silly as hell.
    It was just a matter of time…

    But I think 40 years of the lying conniving weasels terrorizing sick Americans needs Justice! Off with their heads! Public flogging? Something…

    “You’re enough of a pro,” Nixon tells Shafer, “to know that for you to come out with something that would run counter to what the Congress feels and what the country feels, and what we’re planning to do, would make your commission just look bad as hell.”
    – Richard Milhouse Nixon

    “Marijuana does not lead to physical dependency, although some evidence indicates that the heavy, long-term users may develop a psychological dependence on the drug”
    ~ The Shafer Commission of 1970

  • jayrollinhippie

    Whoopie! one more shoe has fallen

  • I had heard that the AMA student section had voted positively on a medical cannabis resolution of some sorts but now this development is even more refreshing.

  • ezrydn

    I would say that next we’ll hear “Oh, those AMA types, just a bunch of quacks! Now, we Police, we’re the only ones who know the truth.” And, I wonder. Will they still try to play “doctor” when they testify?

  • It may be a big wall… but that… that’s a big sledge hammer just got swung… maybe the Berlin Wall isn’t the right wall, maybe it’s Humpty on the wall – Prohibition being Humpty Dumpty of course.

    Thanks Pete. Nice to come home and see that on my monitor!

  • Chris

    allan420, you need to get a cell phone with data so you can check this site on the go 🙂
    palm pre ftw

  • kaptinemo

    Nick, this could also be seen as payback.

    The DEA has been terrorizing pain doctors for over a decade now. I’m quite sure that it has crossed the awareness of the AMA that by doing this, they have set in motion the machinery that could, in essence, destroy the DEA.

    For as everyone with three brain cells to click together knows, cannabis prohibition is the lynch-pin of drug prohibition en toto, and if that lynch-pin is removed, the entire train will come to a screeching halt.

    This can only go in one direction, now.

    “…facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines,…”

    Despite its’ disclaimer, the AMA, by doing this, has ‘thrown the gauntlet’. The AMA’s demand for this kind of research is a sword aimed directly at the ONDCP’s and the DEA’s necks, for it’s as clear a challenge as can be made to the political power of the DEA by demanding that science instead of politics play a role in determining policy, which is exactly what Prez Obama said he wanted.

    The DEA is in serious danger of risking pissing off its’ Executive Branch boss if they start making deprecating noises about a major fundraising (and lobbying) group like the AMA…whose good will is needed for things like health care reform. As usual, there are dimensions beyond the drug law reform one that, in this case, coincide with it.

    Now DEA is in a bind, for if they say anything as abjectly stupid as is their wont this time, the way the political winds have shifted, they are liable to be seen for the rogue agency they are and deemed in need of disbanding.

    And in these increasingly hard economic times, an government agency that’s got thumbs-down from the GAO in every appraisal GAO’s ever made on it is not in a position to draw unwanted attention to itself. If they’re smart, they’ll take their lumps in silence…and start dusting off their resumes.

  • claygooding

    There is a fair wind blowing,,,and I smell smoke. Now if the present regime follows their own words and allows weed to be removed from schedule 1,the DEA lose their death grip
    on medical testing and we can prove up vaporizers and ingesting marijuana as a medicine. I know everyone has noted that the drug czar has always stated that smoked marijuana is not medicine,he always says “smoked” marijuana
    and never just marijuana. It was his out,and the DEA has refused four different studies using vaporizers as the delivery system,now,if our legislators follow the science as they say they will,it will be over for the DEA. Over 1/2 their budget is for fighting marijuana and though all this does is free up the medical side of pot,when straight Americans find out the lies and false information fed them for 40 years,I predict that being a former DEA person is going to be a bad thing.

  • Coincidentally, GW Pharma’s Sativex site is sure looking ready to pull in investors. It’s actually a pretty damned good overview of the cannabinoid effects (check the animation on the oncology page).

  • fortyouncer

    I think this is a good thing, but I don’t really trust the AMA. Why are they only doing this now?

    Maybe they see the big demand that medical marijuana has created and want to make sure it only gets dispensed through doctors. Not in the loose way that is done in CA, but in a more restrictive fashion. Like going to your doctor once per month to renew your “prescription.”

    Legalization is what we need. Does this help us get closer to that?

    I don’t know… i just figure it’s good to be suspicious of a cartel like the AMA.

  • Duncan

    Is that a fat lady I hear singing?

  • DavesNot

    Some interesting info from LA Times,

    In a statement, the office of the White House drug czar reiterated the administration’s opposition to legalization and said that it would defer to “the FDA’s judgment that the raw marijuana plant cannot meet the standards for identity, strength, quality, purity, packaging and labeling required of medicine.”

    Dawn Dearden with the Drug Enforcement Administration said: “At this point, it’s still a Schedule I drug, and we’re going to treat it as such.” The Food and Drug Administration declined to comment.

    Sunil Aggarwal, a medical student at the University of Washington, helped spark the AMA’s reconsideration after he researched marijuana’s effect on 186 chronically ill patients. “I had reason to believe that there was medical good that could come from these products, and I wanted to see AMA policy reflect that,” he said.

  • paul

    “At this point, it’s still a Schedule I drug, and we’re going to treat it as such.”

    This means that even the DEA admits the battle is lost.

  • kaptinemo

    The DEA/FDA dance is about to come to an end; from the linked article DavesNot provided (many thanks!)

    “Dawn Dearden with the Drug Enforcement Administration said: “At this point, it’s still a Schedule I drug, and we’re going to treat it as such.” The Food and Drug Administration declined to comment.

    In a statement, the office of the White House drug czar reiterated the administration’s opposition to legalization and said that it would defer to “the FDA’s judgment that the raw marijuana plant cannot meet the standards for identity, strength, quality, purity, packaging and labeling required of medicine.”

    This has been the game all along. The federal government has used the ‘good cop/bad cop’ approach of deflecting serious efforts to change the laws by doing a ‘Tweedledee and Tweedledum’ routine, bouncing such demands back and forth between the DEA and FDA until they could be safely shelved.

    But no more. The AMA entering the ring has tipped the balance. The DEA/FDA circle-jerk can no longer be maintained now that the AMA has sided with reformers. And now, with the economy in ruins and the political climate changing due to that, it will become even harder to hide this, particularly if a politician decides to investigate why this has been allowed to go on for as long as it has. The results of such an investigation would prove to be extremely damaging to both agencies. The kind of damage that leads to budget cuts…

  • Valid medicinal value, it’s a victimless crime, the War on Drugs WAY too costly, too many arrests for simple possession, tax it and use the money to pay for health insurance and to reduce the deficit…Need I say more?

    Woodstock Universe supports legalization of Marijuana.

    We will giveaway a Woodstock Universe Prize Package to the best member blog on “Why we should legalize marijuana?”

    Prize package includes Woodstock Universe T-shirt and magnet, WDST decal, Radio Woodstock Live in Woodstock CD and Woodstock 3 days of peace and music Director’s Cut DVD.

    Join Woodstock Universe to blog.
    Add your vote in our poll about legalization at http://www.woodstockuniverse.com.

    Current poll results…97% for legalization, 3% against.

    Peace, love, music, one world,
    RFWoodstock

  • Balloon Maker

    Fortyouncer is dead on. The AMA is positioning itself for the discussion on how to decriminalize pot. If they can lead the way on getting research going, they can lead the way writing the laws that end up putting cash in their member’s pockets. That’s what the AMA does. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, I’m just stating a fact.

    This is a good development for the medical marijuana movement, but I’m not optimistic about its effect on the legalization of marijuana movement. From that standpoint, you could argue it’s a good start.

  • ezrydn

    I’d LOVED to have been able to see Senator Grassley’s face when he first heard the news.

  • kaptinemo

    EZ, the word that comes to mind is ‘apoplectic’. As in red-faced, grimacing and about to blow his top.

    But if he wants any campaign money from them, he’d better keep his biscuit trap shut

  • DdC

    The AMA Medical Industrial Complex has permitted millions of Americans to suffer needless anxiety and physical harm from drug thugs for 40 years. They sat by while their Insurance and Pharmaceutical masters did the bidding for $Trillions in profits. Not once did they ever disclose the thousands of years of safe use. Now they say nothing, not a damn word different. They have no intention of allowing common working US peasants to have something for nothing, not something they can sell. Not Buyers Clubs or Homegrown. They haven’t changed the status of smoked pot. Barthwell and Bayer are lurking in the Shadows ready to pounce on a lowering to schedule#2, requiring a triplicate and still outlawing vegetable matter ignitions. They outlaw research but still manage to obtain a patent for cannabinoids? Fool me once shame on you, try fooling me a thousand times and I come to expect it. I hope I’m wrong, but with their track record, I don’t think so.

    US Patent 6630507
    Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants

    US Government Patents Medical Pot
    July 3rd, 2008 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Endocannabinoids
    Dec 05, 2008 11:08 am

    Endocannabinoids are indigenous cannibinoid like substances in the human body. Cannibinoids found in cannabis are able to mimic the similar endocannibinoids in the human body
    THE SUN (UK) Oct.21st, 2006

    The Counterculture Colonel
    Dr. James S. Ketchum, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was into weapons of mass elation, not weapons of mass destruction. He oversaw a secret research program that tested an array of mind-bending drugs on American GIs, including an exceptionally potent form of synthetic marijuana.

    Con Flicts of Interest Bush Barthwell & Drugs

    Health regulators have sent an uncompromising message that smoked cannabis will not be approved for use by MS sufferers, leaving the way open for GW’s under-the-tongue spray version of the drug.

    Former Deputy Drug Czar Andrea Barthwell is the new spokesperson for getting GW Pharmaceuticals’ Sativex approved for use in the United States. Bayer and GW Pharmaceuticals announce marketing agreement on pioneering new cannabis-based treatment.

    “The people who are advancing marijuana as a medicine are perpetuating a cruel hoax that exploits our compassion for the sick. They are using patients’ pain and suffering in an attempt to change America’s drug control policy. Marijuana is a crude plant product that most definitely is not a medicine.”
    ~ Andrea Barthwell
    Former Deputy Drug Czar (Bush II)

  • Carol

    Balloon Maker, the approval by the AMA just may be the right start. If they believe pot is medically harmless, it can be prescribed legally-and later sold over the counter like other substances (herbal remedies, et al,) are. Nobody has to know that your use is recreational instead of medicinal…..

  • DavesNot

    Cool, glad I could contribute. I was searching around for articles on the AMA announcement and found all kinds of prohibitionists using the previous AMA position against medical cannabis. Judge Gray’s recent debate opponent just a few days used the AMA to back his view that cannabis remain illegal. If someone were inclined, they could find dozens of prohibitionists citing the AMA’s opposition to mmj in recent years.

    It would be awesome to call them all out and ask them: “Since the AMA has changed their minds about the potential of medical marijauna, have you changed your mind, and if not, why do you believe the AMA is wrong?”

    It would also be awesome if we would go after the two obvious enemies from this article, the DEA and the FDA, to make their position on mmj hurt them. But use unconventional means and go after their funding by finding embarassing expenditures in a tough economy. Don’t attack their position on mmj directly, but find the $300,000 do nothing DEA salaries with guaranteed $250,000/year pensions after retirement. Highlight “educational junkets” that cost hundreds of thousands. Undermine them by showing negligence and incompetance even prohibitionists can’t defend. As if we don’t already have enough to do and enough points of attack to use, I know.

  • claygooding

    The G&W medicine is nothing more than hemp oil,with a liquid added as a carrier,probably alcohol. It is just marijuana without the fiber,from the extracts of marijuana,
    and we can make it ourselves. There is a video on youtube explaining the process and what you need to do it,safely.
    The man in the video has cured over 50 people of skin cancer using hemp oil and still the Canadian and U.S. governments refuse to recognize the medical applications of marijuana,must be getting nice checks to act that stupid.

  • kaptinemo

    The series ClayGooding is referring to is Run from The Cure. The link leads to Part One. I’d watch all of it to see just how frightened some doctors and many lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians, etc. (who evidently reside in the back pockets of Big Pharma) are of this, as they brought as much force as they could muster to bear against a man who made no money off of showing his neighbors how they could cure themselves of serious and life-threatening ailments.

    If and when the full history of cannabis prohibition is written, the extant of the de facto conspiracy against every soul on this planet will be revealed as a monstrous crime against Humanity. And those who perpetrated that crime have cost the lives of scores, if not hundreds of millions of lives sacrificed on the altar of Moloch. Lives that might have been saved if the 1974 discovery of cannabis’s anti-neoplastic (anti-cancer) properties had been followed through with the massive funding it should have received.

    it is telling that in 1994, another such study had been performed, found the same results, and quietly buried as the first one had.

    And both studies had been paid for by the taxpayers, some of whom became ill with cancer and could have made use of those discoveries. Instead, they died, and more needlessly join them, every day.

  • DdC

    STATE OF THE UNION: CORRUPT

    The Art of War, Sun Tzu

    1. What is the nature of the substance or problem?
    2. What is its origin?
    3. What is its composition?
    4. What is its function?
    5. Who possesses, controls, or causes it?
    6. What is my opinion of it?
    7. What is my relationship to it?
    8. What are my expectations of it?
    9. What is its destiny?

    To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands.
    But the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
    If you know the enemy, and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles.
    If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer defeat.
    If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

  • jayrollinhippie

    Its interesting to note thaat a couple of days have passed and not one single mention of this developement on the MSM not one no cable no network.
    On the bright side Lou Dobbs is throwing in the towel and quiting CNN.remember Lou’s disgust with his own legalization pll and his overt critizime of the overwhelming response and the rsponders. LOL farewell Lou.

  • Hello everyone…mucho progesso!

  • Jesse

    Pretty highlarious statment considering its a bush that’s always been growing on all contienents and requires no brewing or distilling to produce….

  • Cannabis

    @claygooding Hemp oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds. What you are referring to is not hemp oil, it’s hash oil (aka marijuana oil or honey oil) and mistakenly called hemp oil by its supporters for whatever reason.

  • I cannot seem to find The Book Of Jacob.

    But it was referenced briefly on t.v. today naming a plant which provides food, clothing, and medicine.

    I think it was on the BYU Salt Lake City Channel.

    These are Doctines of which I enjoy studying about Cannabis Sativa – The Hidden Ancient Truth.

    I read Hebrews today; very interestingly it is also reading about a newly pressed wine (oil?) coming to light and Wisdom and Understanding are Spiritual Sisters too.

    I think it’s Mary Jane.

  • Here’s a thought of mine today;

    When all of the the peaceful non-violent prisoners are immediately released from incarceration, that’s a double-whammey!

    It will allow the direly needed vacancies to quickly be filled with the falling mafia links Google is tracking, i.e. cia, fbi, Christianity against the mob!

    Not if but when…all of the scum bags of the world will rightfully be locked up…shortly…here come De’ Judge.

  • Jesse – I looked at a LEAP site the the other night.

    Bush and Clinton had the best weed, I knew that fact all along, but the sweethearts also had their dog-noses in the world’s finest cocaine all along too.

    I tired to blog it to KSL.COM but lost it in the war of words somehow. It’s probably too much of an over-load on the 1% mentality of some perhaps, or is it just me.

  • Long story short…trooper cooper is a drug runner.