Latest White House Drug Strategy Report Affirms Our Government Has Virtually No Interest In Actually Studying Marijuana

The White House yesterday, with little fanfare, issued its annual (and long overdue) 2011 National Drug Control Strategy report.
As usual, the White House’s official justification for the ongoing multigenerational drug war was light on facts and heavy on rhetoric, particularly as it pertained to the federal government’s fixation with criminalizing cannabis. Here are just a few examples (all of which are excerpted from a section of the report, entitled ironically enough, ‘The Facts About Marijuana‘) of your government on pot.

[C]onfusing messages being conveyed by the entertainment industry, media, proponents of ‘medical’ marijuana, and political campaigns to legalize all marijuana use perpetuate the false notion that marijuana use is harmless and aim to establish commercial access to the drug. This significantly diminishes efforts to keep our young people drug free and hampers the struggle of those recovering from addiction.”
Marijuana and other illicit drugs are addictive and unsafe. … The science, though still evolving in terms of long-term consequences, is clear: marijuana use is harmful. Independent from the so called ‘gateway effect’ — marijuana on its own is associated with addiction, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and cognitive impairment, among other negative effects.”
“The Administration steadfastly opposes drug legalization. Legalization runs counter to a public health approach to drug control because it would increase the availability of drugs, reduce their price, undermine prevention activities, hinder recovery support efforts, and pose a significant health and safety risk to all Americans, especially our youth.”

You get the idea.
Of course, none of these allegations represent anything new for this (or previous) administrations, and NORML has responded in detail to most of the Drug Czar’s claims previously. I did, however, take notice of this particular paragraph in the report, which appears under the title ‘Medical’ Marijuana.’

“In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved 109 researchers to perform bona fide research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, and marijuana derivatives such as cannabidiol and cannabinol. Studies include evaluation of abuse potential, physical/psychological effects, adverse effects, therapeutic potential, and detection. Fourteen researchers are approved to conduct research with smoked marijuana on human subjects.”

Only in an environment of absolute criminal prohibition can the administration imply, with a straight face, that allowing a grand total of 14 legally permitted scientists to study a substance consumed by tens of millions of Americans for therapeutic and/or recreational purposes is somehow to be construed as ‘progress.’ That total doesn’t even legally allow for one scientist per medical marijuana state to actively assess how cannabis is impacting that state’s patient population.
Moreover, this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification because, in their opinion, “there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy.” Of course, with only a dozen or so scientists in the whole county even permitted to interact with pot and humans can there be any wonder why such studies aren’t more prevalent?
(By the way, remember the results last year of the series of FDA-approved ‘gold standard’ clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis in severely ill patients? Apparently neither does the DEA. Nor are they aware of these ‘well-controlled’ studies of medical cannabis. Or these.)
Interestingly, according to the DEA’s 2010 white paper on cannabis (no longer online), last year there were a total of 18 scientists licensed by the government to work with marijuana in a clinical setting. Perhaps next year there will only be ten. If the DEA and NIDA have there way perhaps by 2013 there will be zero.
As for the other 95 US scientists legally authorized by the federal government to assess the efficacy of ‘marijuana extracts and marijuana derivatives’ in animals, most of them were here last week — at the annual meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. But even these ‘chosen few’ acknowledge that their work has next to no influence on the very administration that authorizes it.

Marijuana Researchers Meet At Pheasant Run
Researchers from around the world studying the effects of marijuana and exploring possible medical uses meet each year to compare notes and share their findings
About 250 scientists from around the world have gathered this weekend at Pheasant Run Resort sitting through seminars titled “Endocannabinoid Signaling in Periimplantation Biology,” and “Cannabinoids and HIV Pathogenicity,” to name a few, for the 21st Annual Symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society.
ICRS members meet once a year to compare notes on research studying how cannabinoids, compounds from the cannabis plant (more commonly known as marijuana) or from the brain called endocannabinoids, affect the body and how it functions.
While most attendees are scientists, many are graduate students or training scientists as well as physicians interested in learning how these chemicals might be useful in treating human disease.
“We are all around the world working on our own projects,” said Cecilia Hillard, ICRS executive director, professor of pharmacology and director of the Neuroscience Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
“That’s why it’s so wonderful for us to get together once a year so we can really share things that we learn,” she said.
For example, she said someone may be studying how bone is formed, and she is studying how the brain works.
“I learn a lot by learning how the bone is formed, and they learn about how neurons work,” Hillard said. “It’s really a lot of what we call a ‘cross-fertilization’ of ideas.”
While the society is not political, Hillard says the type of research that is done on the controversial topic of medical and personal use of marijuana is nonetheless important.
“We’re carrying out scientific investigations trying to understand what these molecules do,” Hillard said. “What we try to contribute to the debate is the reality.”
She said scientific investigation is done in a very neutral way, trying to understand what these molecules do.
“The mass appeal is, ‘is there a good use for this in the treatment of human disease?'” Hillard said. “Most of us really have a passion for looking at these molecules because there is a lot of potential for treatment of human disease.”
The findings of this research are published in scientific journals so that the information is available to anyone. She said sometimes “you have no idea the impact your work is having.” Hillard said part of the mission of the ICRS is to educate the public.
“I wish the politicians would (look at the data) but I don’t think they do,” she said.

126 thoughts

  1. @ 97. Joel: I don’t think “big tobacco” is the enemy. They would be the first to market cannabis products — if legalized. I remember some years back that the major tobacco companies had already decided on brand names for cannabis products, in the event the herb was legalized. For the purposes of their bottom line, “big tobacco” would rather switch production from tobacco to cannabis and avoid all the “pain” they are experiencing from selling their current products.
    That leaves “big alcohol and big pharma” as the culprits. Cannabis legalization WOULD negatively effect THEIR bottom lines — dramatically. They are also the big funders of “big government” — especially since it is now politically incorrect take money from the tobacco industry.
    Another group that pays off the politicians to keep cannabis illegal would be “big banksters” — the Wall Street banksters who profit from the laundering of all that cartel cash (they were big contributors to the Obama campaign). They need cannabis users to keep going to the drug pushers who hook the innocent cannabis user on harder drugs, like cocaine and heroin, where the profits are enormous. I’ll bet no one remembers that old Associated Press(?) picture of the NY Stock Exchange CEO paying a “cold call” on one of the Columbian FARC guerrilla groups (cocaine traffickers, actually) looking to scare up some money laundering business for Wall Street. If cannibis was legal, no one would be going to a pusher, thus no more opportunities to hook cannabis users on more profitable illegal drugs and no more mega profits going to the drug cartels for Wall Street to launder for big commissions.
    It’s all about the Benjamines…

  2. NORML, began this topic based on their professional observations and assessment that the “federal government exhibits virtually no interest in studying marijuana” for medicine, safety, recreational uses parallel to alcohol and tobacco.
    The “War on Drugs” is over 40 years old. For the Gen-X generation, many of your parents were either hippies, smoked pot, if just occasionally, or turned a blind eye to it.
    Which brings me to my general, “the Baby Boomers”, and the millions of you that got high on pot once, if not more…
    We are at a crossroads, one we can’t afford to miss. One we need to speak up about, vote on, change. It’s time cannabis was legal, like alcohol. Not like tobacco, which is dangerous to use. No one is saying we sell cocaine, heroin and meth at the liquor store, and I personally don’t see why cannabis couldn’t be sold at smoke shops, gradually push tobacco to the back shelves.
    NORML lead with this quote in the intro:
    “[C]onfusing messages being conveyed by the entertainment industry, media, proponents of ‘medical’ marijuana, and political campaigns to legalize all marijuana use perpetuate the false notion that marijuana use is harmless…” They provided examples. Here’s another:
    “Cocaine: The evolution of the once ‘wonder’ drug”,
    By Caleb Hellerman, CNN
    July 22, 2011 6:21 p.m. EDT
    (CNN) — “Long before drug cartels, crack wars and TV shows about addiction, cocaine was promoted as a wonder drug, sold as a cure-all and praised by some of the greatest minds in medical history, including Sigmund Freud and the pioneering surgeon William Halsted.
    According to historian Dr. Howard Markel, it was even promoted by the likes of Thomas Edison, Queen Victoria and Pope Leo XIII.”

    The “ARTICLE” is flowing at that point… until this:
    “Later in 1914, Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Act, banning the nonmedical use of cocaine, as well as other drugs, like marijuana. Cocaine’s long career as an outlaw had begun.”
    In 1914 “marijuana” wasn’t even a word! We called cannabis we found ganja – it grew fairly wild, plus for hemp it was cultivated. It was not know as a narcotic, but rather, a valuable, non-addictive medicinal plant used to treat many medical conditions. Yes, like cocaine, except with the opposite results.
    Here is a good link to the text of the 1914 “Harrison Narcotics Act”:
    This is another example where the media likes to embellish a news topic with fabrications. The term marijuana wasn’t used until the early 1930’s…
    But today we can rely on misinformation in our media… just like politicians, “if it sounds good, it’s worth saying…”
    Stop the Hurt

  3. To heck with not supporting Obama in 2012!
    I believe that the opposition will have enough evidence by 02aug2011 (debt ceiling crisis) to successfully impeach Obama.
    Let’s ‘get it done’!

  4. If Marijuana has no accepted medical value, Why does “OUR” Government have US.Patents (also forign ones)on MEDICALY BENIFICIAL compounds found in Marijuana look up US patent # 6630507 which will lead to 22 other US and Forign patents on Medicaly Benificial compounds found in this harmless plant. How much is BIG PHARMA “LOBBYING” to keep this quiet? As always, WEALTH BEFORE HEALTH!!

  5. @ 118. cj: The US isn’t the only country pulling these shenanigans. I was watching the BBC last night and caught the show, “Should I Smoke Pot?” — just for the hoots and giggles I knew I would be getting from the Brits’ propaganda outlet. At the end of her “adventure” the woman doing the propaganda piece decided she would “stick to her drug of choice” and settled in with a glass of wine.

  6. #119, Tasha123…
    Not surprised… wine is the choice of the “moral majority”… a glass of wine is good for the body and soul. The problem is, although some benefit from that glass of wine, person freedom and pursuit of happiness involves choices, adult choices for those of us over 21 (tobacco, 18). Well the “message” from gov’t is there are politicians and children. There are no adults… no need for choice. We’re fortunate to have our alcohol and tobacco, shouldn’t push it.
    BTW, did anybody see where the Norwegian terrorist bought liquid nicotine, to add to the bullets he fired? Nicotine is a neuro-toxin, which is why tobacco can’t be eaten, and why it’s make us sick.
    Neither alcohol or tobacco have any valid, patented medical uses. Both are highly addictive. But they’re not “DRUGS”, as they have no medical uses.
    This is “science”. Cannabis is a patented medicine, federal patents and others… that makes it a drug… thus the shadow/mirror dance, that cannabis can’t be legalized… in that, natural use of the plant would infringe on corporate gains, and potential gains.
    What’s happening in CA, CO, AZ, MA, ME, to name a few states, is a considerable threat to the federal plan for cannabis. Somehow the federal gov’t needs to keep the public stone-walled with use of cannabis, without revealing why, for the better good, for controlled BIG Pharma drugs derived from the plant. It must be maintained as a “impossible to safely use” plant. It must be controlled like opium is controlled, and legally grown only in a few countries for it’s morphine.
    Although we all know cannabis is not anything like opium, making it so is essential to the overall plan.
    Have a glass of wine instead…

Leave a Reply