Those who have followed Drug WarRant for awhile may remember me talking about Julie Falco, an MS patient in Illinois who testified on behalf of medical marijuana in the Illinois hearings. I got a chance to meet her then, and she’s quite an amazing young woman. (Here’s a great article about her by Steve Young.
Well, Julie and her doctor, Dr. Anthony Reder, are applying for access to the liquid form of marijuana called Sativex¬. According to Americans for Safe Access:
“The introduction of Sativex¬ to Canadian markets vindicates what patients, doctors, and medical associations have been saying for centuries: marijuana is a safe and effective medication, “said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, the largest medical marijuana advocacy group in the country. “The bottom line is marijuana MUST be rescheduled so that we can have a real conversation about the best uses of marijuana as medicine, including the introduction of Sativex¬ to the US market.” (ASA information on Sativex¬)
Americans for Safe Access will be assisting a number of MS patients and their doctors through this application process, while they continue in their quest to change the schedule of marijuana from its current status, in the same category as heroin, to another category that recognizes the medicinal value of marijuana. Federal law allows for promising drugs that have been approved in another country, but not yet in the United States, to be used under the direction of a physician, pending special permission. The Investigational New Drug program (IND) is the means through which the sponsor (either a physician or pharmaceutical company) technically obtains this authorization from the FDA. The federal government has had a Compassionate Use IND program that has provided medical cannabis to patients for nearly 30 years. Only a handful of patients were ever approved to use NIDA‰s University of Mississippi-grown marijuana. Seven of these patients are still surviving and receiving their monthly allocations of medical cannabis.
Of course, I’ve talked about the IND program as well. And it seems likely to me that the government will deny this application. But once again they’re going to look bad doing it. This is what it takes. Keep chipping away.
Good luck, Julie. You deserve to get the medicine you need without having to be a criminal.
A press conference will be held on Wednesday at 11 am at the Kluczynski Federal Building, 230 S Dearborn St, Chicago.