Congressional Research Service’s Medical Marijuana Report

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), part of the Library of Congress, has a mandate to research and publish non-partisan, up-to-date and relevant information for members of Congress and their staff to help them craft legislation.

The most recent CRS white paper on medical cannabis in the United States is, in fishing parlance, a ‘keeper’. Released for public consumption on April 2, 2010, it is a well researched, scholarly and important document for reformers to download and keep close at hand as a very well presented primer on the history and current domestic legal status of medical cannabis. Of particular help are the many numerous citations and footnotes for greater reference and depth of understanding.

Very often, and rightly so, taxpayers–notably cannabis consumers–are frustrated at how state and federal governments spend tax dollars arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating; interdicting, eradicating and propagandizing in support of cannabis prohibition. But, this most recent CRS report (like many previous reports from them on cannabis and drug policy) is an invaluable report to add to one’s ‘reform library’ that you and I can feel good paying for.

These CRS reports are exclusively researched and published for Congress, and all members and their staff have access to the reports in advance of the general public accessing the documents, so there is little excuse for members of Congress and their staff to be the slightest bit ignorant or misinformed about the current legal status of medical cannabis, the rapid pace of reforms at the state level and the inherent public support medical access to cannabis enjoys.

The CRS report, ‘Medical Marijuana: Review and Analysis of Federal and State Policies’ is available for viewing and downloading here.

26 thoughts

  1. This article coming out at this time is great for me considering I am writing my final paper over cannabis and its medicinal purposes.

  2. very good report, i read through it today and found it to be very good, very balanced review, this is a strong step forward, i am, as i am sure many of you are, very excited to see the reactions to this report

  3. yeah yeah yeah…we have been talking around in circles for so long about this truly stupid issue. I read the WHOLE report, it’s so obvios that this is a socio religious racially driven economic issue. I always find it unnerving that this harmless plant has so much weight in Washington. This topic is as insane as gay marriage. It is only an issue because of god and money. PLEASE, god, give us a break if you exist. Let us live for god’s sake. Let consenting adults be consenting adults. This should never be a political issue. Save your seeds, hide your weed

  4. great article. problem is it’s 51 pages long and few congressmen/women bother themselves with reading reports at all. they seem to love charts and graphs. if someone could just come up with a simple chart, showing how politicians, lobbyists and the corporations could make money from the plant with out them loosing income from the many products that marijuana competes with. many of our elected representatives report income from pharmaceutical and oil companies every year. the problem is and always has been, not about people getting high but about anti-competitive economics. if you can show them how to profit from it you’ll end prohibition. just remember; out of the many varieties of hemp very few actually contain enough thc to make a user high, at the moment all forms of hemp production are illegal in america, the availability of hemp will most likely adversely effect profits from pharmaceuticals, paper, petroleum, cotton and several other industries that have taken advantage of hemp’s being legislated out of the competition.

  5. Baby steps!
    Oxymoron – why tax payers money, pays for state and federal government to use their money, to make them criminals for their right to choose what is best for themselves.

  6. What about the Study and Report that was done that Absolutely Infuriated Nixon when the results were not what he Expected to Hear?

  7. NORML Staff –

    I was hoping we could get a summary of the report and highlights of any particular “good” or “bad” or “interesting” portions of the report. What are the implications of the report? I am confused if this report simply states the status of medical marijuana laws in states or if it includes some sort of analysis. It appears to be both? That said, I would love for NORML’s own analysis on the report so it is easier for us non-experts to understand. Is NORML planning on doing so?


  8. Wow. The report reeks of the corruption in the past where the DEA influences the AMA and FDA opinions. Shows us how they don’t just blindly enforce the laws we the people want enforced. Scarry to see how Congress continues to bow to them year after year. They really are the ruling body of this country.

  9. read carefully this paper on the surface looks to be against marijuana diving into it it all becomes clear i just hope the politicians and news medias don’t just scan through and get the wrong ideas but this will go great with the senate justice committee review of criminal law i wonder how that’s going. there’s no recent news coverage

  10. Very well written report. Infuriating to read and remember the federal government’s staunch defiance of rescheduling attempts. Such a catch-22: There isn’t enough information they claim to justify rescheduling it and they won’t let anyone do the studies or grow their own cannabis needed to provide the information they claim to lack and straight up ignore all the studies currently in existence that support safe medical applications.

    And the supreme court chimes in with: Take it to the Congress. Hahahahahahaa. Been a long time since they represented the public interest.

    I am glad the author notes the federal executive branch can take administrative action on their own to reschedule it. If Congress is too chicken shit, maybe Obama can do it through the DEA although I find that not bloody likely given his choice to head that department. Two steps forward, five steps back.

    The States will keep chugging along with reform and the DEA will target a person here and there to make an example and all the while faith in a functioning federal republic shall crumble.

    We need to support the legalization efforts on the west coast from wherever we live and force the feds to make a choice. Arrest all of us for violating federal law or none of us.

  11. “The federal government’s argument that marijuana has no medical value is straightforward. A
    drug, in order to meet the standard of the Controlled Substances Act as having a “currently
    accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” must meet a five-part test:

    (1) The drug’s chemistry must be known and reproducible,
    (2) there must be adequate safety studies,
    (3) there must be adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy,
    (4) the drug must be accepted by qualified experts, and
    (5) the scientific evidence must be widely available.”

    Okay, and just WHAT EXACTLY isn’t already evidenced for these??? WE HAVE PROOF FOR ALL OF THEM, AND THEN SOME!

    The US Government, ESPECIALLY THE DEA, needs to lay off the crack pipe and pull their heads out of their asses.

  12. Sometimes, people who have their minds made up, do not want to be confused with the facts. Calling prohibitionists “flat earthers” is being too kind. I do not care if some oppose cannabis. They have every right to do so. As long as they do not violate the God-given, Constitutionally guaranteed rights of those who see life from a different perspective, prohibitionists should not consume cannabis at every opportunity. They should also put down that alcohol drink, cigarette and “needed” prescription drug, to avoid being illogical hypocrites. Also, if someone thinks prostitution is wrong, do not be a prostitute or even solicit the services of a prostitute. Otherwise, mind your own damn business. Victimless/consensual crimes in the free country the United States is supposed to be are un-Godly, Unconstitutional, irrational and unenforceable.

  13. If a paper included industrial a possible title might be Cannibis the trillion dollar crop.

  14. Expecting the members of Congress to even read the report is another thing.

    They have what I like to generally call “selective hearing”.

  15. Now if only congress would listen to every view point, instead of only ones they currently agree with. Stupid hypocritical, nonsensical, ignorant pricks. Too bad us ‘stoners’ who frequently comment on here are so stupid, or maybe we’d be able to make sense to the all powerful geniuses in the government. 😛

  16. I was really interested in the congressional report, but in order to use it as a reference for an article I’m writing, it had to come from a .gov resource. I used the URL on the document itself, ( and discovered it didn’t exist. I saw that you were linking to a file stored at and found the same document listed in their government resources

    However- this is the only place I’m finding it. I think it’s odd that the URL on the document, for the Congressional Research Service is incorrect. I also think it’s odd that the CRS website gives no guidance for how to obtain their own reports. Another website, doesn’t appear to have the report either.

    So what’s a journalist to do? I am REQUIRED to use a .gov or .edu reference domain.

    [Editor’s note: Academically, the citation of the report itself is more important than an email domain citation.]

  17. Sorry to say that no matter what is published in support of legalization, the government lacks the balls and intelligence to do the right thing. Its up to us, the people.

  18. dear indiana jones:

    you call yourself a stoner, well there’s nothing wrong with that. I used to call myself a “stoner” but now I advocate to legalize mj for medicinal purposes.
    your words do not help us to do that.

  19. Thank you, editor.

    This isn’t for an academic paper, though. I write for several websites, including,,,,, and Demand Studios, which supplies web content for thousands of other websites. For many of the sites I write for, I’m required to provide an active link to my reference on a .gov or .edu website.

    I sure wish I could share this report. I’m also suspicious because the URL on the report is invalid and it doesn’t seem to “check out.”

    [Editor’s note: The Congressional Research Service report is valid, Mr. Eddy has authored a number of previous reports for CRS and the webpage that obtained the report is credible. In fact the webpage that hosts the report is constructed to create a balanced and objective view of any information pertaining to medical cannabis.]

  20. I will speak against anything I know to be wrong.The price is reasonable.Just for entertainment.Is this the fight bus for the Capital Library? I was alone??but not lonely.Manners are quite different from country to country.Manners are quite different from country to country.Being criticized is awful!Let’s watch TV with a candle on.Thanks for taking me the movie

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