I really admire the tenacity and patience of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) in their dealings with HHS and the Data Quality Act complaint.
For those who have been with me for years, you know about this story quite well. For others, a quick recap is in order. The Data Quality Act is a government regulation that allows groups and individuals to submit a complaint that a government agency is disseminating inaccurate information and get it corrected. Well, for years, Health and Human Services (and the FDA) has been disseminating information that marijuana has no medical value or use. It’s harder to get much more inaccurate than that. So ASA put in a complaint and asked that the information be changed. Under the law, the agency is supposed to respond in 60 days.
- October 6, 2004: Original complaint filed (good, I thought — HHS will have to correct its information by the end of the year. Right.)
- December 1, 2004. HHS says it needs more time. (Note: You can read all the letters here)
- February 2, 2005. HHS says it needs more time.
- April 5, 2005. HHS says it needs more time.
- April 20, 2005. HHS claims that it doesn’t really need to respond.
- May 19, 2005. ASA appeals the non-response.
- July 28, 2005. HHS says it needs more time to respond to the appeal.
- October 5, 2005. HHS says it needs more time.
- December 8, 2005. HHS says it needs more time.
- February 7, 2006. HHS says it needs more time.
- April 12, 2006. HHS says it needs more time.
- April 20, 2006. FDA comes out with its nonsense declaration about marijuana not being medicine.
- May 2, 2006. ASA sends a letter threatening to sue if HHS continues to delay.
- July 12, 2006. HHS denies the appeal (by avoiding the question)
- February 21, 2007: ASA files lawsuit.
- May 25, 2007. Government files motion to dismiss claiming that the courts don’t have jurisdiction and that ASA doesn’t have standing.
- June 21, 2007. ASA responds
And finally, yesterday, ASA got to actually give oral arguments in a district court (arguments on the motion to dismiss, of course, but it’s still a step forward)
I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted (and I haven’t done anything except report it to you).
And that’s exactly what the government wants. They want us to get so frustrated by the obfuscation and obstruction that we’ll give up. But we won’t.