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December 2004



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 […]