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December 2004



Holiday Blogging Break

I’ll be gone for just over a week, visiting relatives in Indianola, Iowa and Quincy, Illinois, with little time for, or likelihood of finding, wireless connections for blogging. Please continue to send tips my way — I’ll still be reading! There’s a whole community of us now keeping people up to date on the drug […]

The Folly of our Drug Policies

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m paying additional attention since I started writing this blog, but it sure seems to me that the past couple of years has seen a marked increase in mainstream newspapers and columnists recognizing the folly. Today, it’s Steve Chapman’s column in the Chicago Tribune (many of his columns […]

Trusting Doctor could get life

Jacob Sullom discusses the Hurwitz case at Reason Online in Trust Busters: A pain doctor’s drug trafficking conviction sets a chilling precedent

… the prosecutors got the jury to overlook the obvious weaknesses in their case and convict Hurwitz, in essence, of trusting his patients too much.

That verdict sends a clear message to doctors […]

Link Blogging

My “Return of the King” extended DVD gift set arrived today, so my evening is planned. Here are a few things to read. “bullet” Hurwitz Convicted. A pain doctor has been convicted of drug trafficking and could get life. Bad news for future people in pain. This will make doctors even more likely to under-prescribe. […]

Death Penalty

Fujairah, United Arab Emirates Fujairah criminal court has awarded the death sentence to Lisa Tray, who delivered a package containing about 5 ounces of narcotics to an undercover cop. The woman claimed to be unaware of the contents that had been given to her by her step-father. While there are a few countries who regularly […]

Raich v. Ashcroft transcript Available

Oral Argument transcript available online. (pdf) I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ll be talking about it more later. Updates: First reaction. The Justices went after Clements (government side) a lot harder than was widely reported. Line that made me laugh (and gag at the same time):

Clements: And I think […]

Christopher Hitchens gets it

In today’s Slate, Hitchens writes Let the Afghan Poppies Bloom: How the drug war is undermining the war on terrorism.

Do you know anyone who really believes in the “war on drugs” as it is supposedly waged in the United States? It is widely understood to be the main index of pointless and costly and […]

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.]


“bullet” Go to Last One Speaks for the news that investigative reporter Gary Web has died. Also an update on Tommy Chong and a strange case of long-distance drug possession. “bullet” Martin at Media Crapola has an interesting post about a recent NY Times article on the drug war. “bullet” decrimwatch brings us an excellent […]

We WILL have Walters to kick around some more

John Walters, Drug Lord Czar extraordinaire, will be continuing for another term. The only thing that makes this bearable is that Walters is such a polarizing figure that his statements often serve to mobilize drug policy reformers. He will undoubtedly continue his bizarre offensives against sick people, Canadians, and school children. Baylen has more at […]