Via Cannabis News
Washington — Hearings opened today in the American Civil Liberties Union’s challenge to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s policy of obstructing privately funded, FDA-approved scientific research that could lead to marijuana being approved as a prescription medicine.
“Despite the DEA’s contentions, the public deserves and, increasingly, demands a full and fair scientific evaluation of the possible health benefits of medical marijuana,” said University of Massachusetts Professor Lyle Craker, Ph.D. “As a scientist, it is my job to make plant material available for research. The DEA’s refusal to permit me to grow marijuana for research necessarily prevents an accurate assessment of this plant’s potential medicinal properties.”
The proceedings, which are scheduled to last through the week, mark the culmination of more than four years of Professor Craker’s efforts to obtain permission to produce marijuana for use in studies on the plant’s medical benefits. Professor Craker, who filed his initial petition in June 2001, seeks a DEA license to grow research-grade marijuana for use in privately funded, FDA-approved studies that aim to develop marijuana into a legal, prescription medicine — an undertaking the DEA has maintained would run counter to public interest.
Kudos to Professor Craker, who has been tireless in these efforts, and to the ACLU.
However, before you get too excited, consider the scope of these hearings:
The hearing is taking place before a Department of Justice-appointed Administrative Law Judge, who will issue recommendations to the DEA Administrator based on the hearing’s findings. Such recommendations, while non-binding, nonetheless influence the DEA and are the sole administrative avenue for appealing the DEA’s regulatory decisions.
Baby steps. Baby steps. Follow every avenue. Every legal procedure. Eventually, the accumulated efforts may cause the empty lies to collapse in on themselves.
What’s frustrating is that all it would take is one President with integrity who, with a single stroke of his or her pen, could re-schedule marijuana.