I’ve been reporting for some time about the efforts by Americans for Safe Access to use a new law called the Data Quality Act to force Health and Human Services to stop spreading false info about medical marijuana (a step which could, theoretically, assist long-term efforts to re-schedule medical marijuana). (Background post — Actual Petition(pdf) )
At the time, I was excited about this, because the law requires that the agency respond in 60 days. (What I did not realize at the time was that the law also allows the agency to grant itself extensions.)
The original complaint was filed on October 6, 2004.
On December 1, HHS responded (in part)
We have not yet completed our response to your complaint because of other agency priorities and the need to coordinate agency review of the response. We hop to provide you with a response within 60 days from the date of this letter.
On February 2, 2005, HHS responded (in part):
Your October 4, 2004, request for correction of information disseminated by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the medical use of marijuana is still under review. While the goal of the Food and Drug Administration is to respond within 60 days to such requests, we are unable to do so in this case. We anticipate that a response will be forwarded to you by April 1, 2005.
Now, last week, HHS responded (in part):
We wrote to you on February 2, 2005, indicating that we would need additional time to complete our response to your request and expected to reply by April 1, 2005. At this time we are continuing to prepare our response but require additional time to coordinate Agency review. We anticipate that a response will be forwarded to you by April 15, 2005.
Could it be that a real response is actually coming? Of course, they’ve now had six months to try to justify their lies. And if we don’t like their response? Well then Americans for Safe Access will have 30 days to submit an appeal… to Health and Human Services!
(As frustrating as all this appears, we need to keep working every angle. The press, the public, the legislators, the agencies, the courts. Baby steps… baby steps.)