Good news in marijuana research

Word is out (via NORML) that DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner has ruled today in favor of Lyle Craker/MAPS. This, if it holds, would finally break the monopoly on research marijuana currently held by NIDA/DEA. The key is that no researcher wants to study potential commercial applications of marijuana if they’re dependent on the government for their supply (particularly when the government only grows low-grade schwag. The 87-page decision (pdf) includes:

“I conclude that granting Respondent’s application would not be inconsistent with the Single Convention, that there would be minimal risk of diversion of
marijuana resulting from Respondent’s registration, that there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes, that competition in the provision of marijuana for such purposes is inadequate, and that Respondent has complied with applicable laws and has never been convicted of any violation of any law pertaining to controlled substances. I therefore find that Respondent’s registration to cultivate marijuana would be in the public interest.”

Press release should be out in the morning. Of course, the DEA will probably start working on ways to block this development.
In related news, a study using the government’s low-quality pot had good, if unsurprising results:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Smoking marijuana eases a type of chronic foot pain in people with the AIDS virus, according to a study published on Monday that the researchers touted as demonstrating marijuana’s medicinal benefits. […]
The study, appearing in the journal Neurology, focused on sensory neuropathy — a kind of severe nerve pain usually felt as aching, painful numbness and burning in the feet — associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection.

And naturally:

But the White House drug policy office said the research was flawed and offered only “false hope.” […]
David Murray, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s chief scientist, said the suffering of AIDS patients is an issue of great concern.
“Unfortunately, this particular study is not terribly convincing,” Murray said, citing what he saw as methodological problems.
“Unfortunately, it will lead many people into a false hope that street marijuana is somehow going to be the thing I can use that will make me feel better and won’t jeopardize my health. Now that is a fraud and a dangerous one,” he told Reuters.

Murray, you inhuman, sadistic putz. Unsupported claims of a cure can be called “false hope.” But a symptom reliever cannot, by definition be called “false hope.” Either it relieves symptoms or it doesn’t. Period. There’s nothing that can be false hope about it. And you have absolutely no evidence that marijuana will jeopardize anyone’s health.
Update: For further reading on the decision regarding growing non-government pot for research, see Boston Globe. San Francisco Gate has a good article on the medical marijuana research for HIV patients.

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