The Federal Government 'Ardently Supports' Medical Marijuana Research?! Who Knew?

Last month we shared with you a letter from Tennessee Congressman Steven Cohen — co-sponsor of HR 2306: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 — to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, which called upon the Obama administration to support changing cannabis’ status as a schedule I prohibited drug and to respect the laws of states that have legalized it for its medical utility.
“We should not deny the thousands of Americans who rely on the benefits that marijuana provides,” Cohen wrote. “There is no evidence that marijuana has the same addictive qualities or damaging consequences as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine and should not be treated as such.”
On Monday, October 3, Drug Czar Kerlikowske responded to Rep. Cohen. In his reply, summarized here, Kerlikowske alleged that the Congressman’s concerns regarding the federal scheduling of cannabis are unwarranted because, “We ardently support research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine.”
Kerlikowske added, “In fact, the federal government is the largest source of funding for research into the potential therapeutic benefits of marijuana, and every valid request for the use of marijuana for research has been approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.”
Really? So how does the Drug Czar explain this headline — from Saturday’s edition of The Washington Post?

Marijuana study of traumatized veterans stuck in regulatory limbo
Getting pot on the street is easy. Just ask the 17 million Americans who smoked the federally illegal drug in 2010.
Obtaining weed from the government? That’s a lot harder.
In April, the Food and Drug Administration approved a first-of-its kind study to test whether marijuana can ease the nightmares, insomnia, anxiety and flashbacks common in combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
But now another branch of the federal government has stymied the study. The Health and Human Services Department is refusing to sell government-grown marijuana to the nonprofit group proposing the research, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

That’s right, the Drug Czar is claiming that the federal government ‘ardently supports’ medical marijuana research just days after the US government formally denied a request for an FDA-approved clinical trial to assess cannabis’ therapeutic safety and efficacy.
Wait, it gets worse. The ugly truth is that the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the agency that oversees 85 percent of the world’s research on controlled substances, is on record stating that its institutional policy is to reject any and all medical marijuana research. “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use,” a NIDA spokesperson told The New York Times in 2010. “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”
For once a government agency was telling the truth regarding cannabis. NIDA categorically does not support such research — despite the Obama administration in 2010 publicly issuing its “Scientific Integrity” memorandum stating, “Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration.”
That is why an online search of ongoing FDA-approved clinical trials using the keyword “cannabinoids” yields only six studies (two of which have already been completed) worldwide involving subjects’ use of actual cannabis despite hundreds of favorable preclinical and observational studies clearly demonstrating its benefit.
Just how blatant is Kerlikowske’s latest lie? Consider this. According to the White House’s 2011 National Drug Control Strategy, released in July, only fourteen researchers in the United States are legally permitted to conduct research assessing the effect of inhaled cannabis in human subjects. That’s right, only fourteen! And even among this absurdly limited group of investigators, most are involved in research to assess the drug’s “abuse potential, physical/psychological effects, [and] adverse effects.” So says the White House.
Ardent support for medical marijuana research? Please Gil, don’t make us laugh.

80 thoughts

  1. The reason never made any sense, so really I’d like to know how this fraud was perpetrated at the highest levels of government for so long, and it continues.
    Is it because cannabis makes you peaceful and not want to join the military?
    Is it because it is medicine free for all people?
    Is it because it is food, fiber, and freedom from debt slavery?
    It must be a combination of all three, because the plant itself is not threatening. The reason is because of what the plant threatens, then, and these are the only reasons.
    It is a war on all humanity.

  2. Yeah, ok Gil, all those nasty chemicals that your buddies at Big Pharma dream up are much better for us.Pull your head out of your ass! Poopy Head!

    Federal prosecutors are cracking down on some pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law.
    In an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry, at least 16 pot shops or their landlords received letters this week stating they are violating federal drug laws, even though medical marijuana is legal in California. The state’s four U.S. attorneys were scheduled Friday to announce a broader coordinated crackdown.
    Their offices refused Thursday to confirm the closure orders. The Associated Press obtained copies of the letters that a prosecutor sent to at least 12 San Diego dispensaries. They state that federal law “takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana.”

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  5. Suppose we could get NIDA to focus primarily on the negative consequences of alcohol use, or would they say “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of alcohol.” Perhaps studies on tobacco?

  6. The drug czar is probably getting paid off by the drug companies or maybe they gave him some shares in the stocks. Once they start shutting down medical marijuana dispensaries these drug company stocks will probably start going up more.
    If the Federal Government can get states to start closing down medical marijuana dispensaries people will be forced to buy on the black market and get arrested for possession or they can go into a drug store and buy prescription pills provided by drug companies and doctors.
    As long as marijuana stays illegal or medical marijuana stays illegal under Federal law, if it can continue getting Gil to talk about it without supporting it, just continuing to lie his ass off, he will always have a nice career.

  7. The following are emails to and from the ONDCP:
    Dear Donald,
    Thank you for contacting the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Your comments have been shared with the Director’s office.What constitutes safe and effective medicine should continue to be based upon reviews of the appropriate science by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Medical evidence does not support the efficacy of smoked marijuana for medical purposes. ONDCP will continue to work closely with other stakeholders to review law, science, and medicine to refine the Administration’s marijuana enforcement policy.
    The following is some specific information and resources concerning medical marijuana:
    On April 20th, 2006, the FDA issued an advisory concluding that no sound scientific studies have supported medical use of smoked marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data support the safety or efficacy of smoked marijuana for general medical use.
    There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana. For example, a prescription drug, Marinol, is currently available to anyone with a doctor’s prescription. Marinol contains THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and has been approved for some of the same uses as medicinal marijuana.
    To learn more about “medical marijuana,” please visit the following Web sites:
    Medical Marijuana Information Packet
    Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana Is a Medicine
    Medical Marijuana – Marinol
    Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base
    Marijuana Studies/Articles from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
    Marijuana Research Report
    The DEA Position on Marijuana
    Please let us know if you have any questions.
    Thank you,
    Content Specialist
    ONDCP Clearinghouse
    Disclaimer: The enclosed response may include referrals to non-Federal Government resources.
    The resources, and the information contained therein, are only as reliable and complete as their originating source. Responsibility for the quality/accuracy of the information rests with the original source.
    On September 14, 2011, you wrote:
    Dear Mr. Kerlikowske,
    I am writing to you in the hopes of promoting a greater understanding of medical cannabis and the potential for its use among cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy.
    My wife has stage IV, metastatic, Her2neu positive breast cancer. She has had the disease for going on nineteen (19) years now and has endured a myriad of treatments including high-dose chemotherapy and several hormone therapies. (Tamoxifen, Zolodex, Arimidex, etc.) She has been able to gain valuable time from most of these treatments. After the high-dose regimen she was introduced to Herceptin which has helped her a great deal. However, the disease progressed from the lymph system into the bones of her hips, pelvis, femur and back and she began a clinical trial provided by Bristol-Myer Squibb which had limited results.
    Two years ago she became a participant in a new phase I clinical trial involving Herceptin with T-DM1 and GDC-0941. She had an immediate response to the treatment and after 37 cycles of the therapy has seen no progression of the disease.
    Our problem is this; as time goes on the spontaneous emesis (vomiting) and nausea become more of a concern. She is currently taking Reglan for these side effects but has lost some thirty (30) pounds since the beginning of the trial. Although she has had some limited response to the Reglan, it is not sufficient to prevent her from spontaneously vomiting and being constantly nauseous. The problem is exacerbated when she has just taken the GDC-0941 and must keep from throwing up the life saving medicine. Health care professionals recognize the efficacy of cannabis for my wife’s condition and recommend it for her.
    We are aware of some of the problems associated with the medical use of cannabis but these can be alleviated if the product is given the supervision and care that is given to tobacco. Mold is a problem, and the varying level of cannabinoids and THC is not addressed by the existing black market. She needs a regulated and well cared for substance for her therapy.
    Most chemotherapy is delivered in a short period of time but my wife has endured it for over two years in this most recent trial. It would be a shame for her to lose her struggle for life due to the side effects of a life saving treatment because she was unable to access a valuable tool that would keep her from losing too much weight.
    Please consider our dilemma as you look into the future for cancer patients.
    Thank you.
    Donald Wright

  8. I know what I’m thinking, saying, and doing “even if government doesn’t.” If they can’t remember what I’ve just said [then] they can just pick it up from right here and now – and – they can stay awake this time.
    Compassionate Use patients – are permitted by law to cultivate and consume “the whole plant material.” They are allowed to carry it on their persons and transport it at all times. They are allowed by law to form a “Medical Collective” that cultivates for the collectives exclusive benefit. The harvest belongs to the collective and is made exclusively available to its constituents [members] patients to consume.
    Religiously it’s a Sacrament. Genesists – for example – believe in Genesis Chapter I Verses 1 through Genesis Chapter III Verse 24 with a “Distinctive Faith” in Chapter I Verses 29, 30, 31 – where Genesists “distinctively” – receive – “The green herb for food and Sacrament.” A religious collective who cultivates Sacrament on “Sacred and Blessed Ground” – also cultivates for medicinal use – “God’s Own Medicine.” through Genesis Inner Faith Constituency – provided by the Compassionate Use Doctrine of the Faith and its obligation to relieve pain and suffering of it’s brethren through its medicinal use.

    160 Sodom Road
    Moultonborough, NH 03254
    October 7, 2011
    Yvonne (?)
    Content Specialist
    ONDCP Clearing House
    Dear Yvonne (?),
    Thank you for your timely response.
    I respectfully submit the following response to your email to me for continued discussion:
    Along with the information you asked me to read, I have read and own copies of the IOM’s report “Marijuana and Medicine”, “Marijuana as Medicine?” by Alison Mack and Janet Joy, “Understanding Marijuana” by Mitch Earlywine, “Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies” by the American Cancer Society and have read the National Cancer Institute’s own website: I highly recommend that you read them yourself as well as “Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine” by Dr. Lester Grinspoon. You may find some enlightenment as a result. Or, better yet, spend a few days in the treatment room of a nearby Cancer center.
    My letter to you was sincerely motivated, as my wife is a seriously ill cancer patient who has not responded appropriately to any of the existing anti-emetic drugs offered to her. Marinol (Dronabinol) takes too long for it to be effective and the side effects are disturbing (headache, dizziness, etc.). Her situation has progressed to the point where it may become a medical necessity for her to use cannabis in order for her to keep from being removed from the clinical trial that is miraculously keeping her alive.
    The fact that cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug prevents it from being properly assessed for medicinal purposes though clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies won’t investigate cannabis because the process is too difficult and unprofitable for them to obtain the needed research for F.D.A. approval of a Schedule 1 drug. Your office and the D.E.A. have a vested interest in keeping cannabis off the market and the current system will prevent cannabis from ever being obtainable to those who could benefit from its availability. Although your department claims that you “ardently support research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine” I personally cannot find any supporting evidence of such a claim.
    How do you compare cannabis to the likes of heroin and methamphetamine? Both heroin and “Meth” are highly addictive and devastating drugs that have no legitimate use. A cancer patient can have an astonishing array of opiates and narcotics that are both highly addictive and have the potential for easy overdose and if they worked for our situation, we would be able to use them. But they don’t. Does cannabis really compare to Oxycontin, Morphine or even Codeine in its toxicity? Narcotics are available as a legitimate option and their cost is increasing with every accidental overdose death, unlike cannabis by which no primary cause of death can be found.
    Ours is a Republic and not a Democracy. That means that the “inalienable” rights of the individual are protected against the will of the majority. This is a significant aspect of our unique form of government that the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Jay and Thomas Paine as well as many others knew was going to be a key point in making our country a success. Preventing an individual from trying to save their own life in order to keep the “status quo” is not a part of this premise.
    Have Irvin Rosenfeld, Robert Randall or any of the other patients involved in the Compassionate, Investigational New Drug program become heroin or meth-amphetamine addicts as a result of their being in that program? The idea of a “gateway drug” is misleading at best. Let’s look at tobacco and alcohol: Tobacco killed some 430,000 people last year: and alcohol killed some 79,000 people annually from 2001-2005 . These could easily fall into the category of gateway drugs but yet they are still legal. We should be focusing on new and innovative ways of teaching our children the realities of how to deal with drugs, including tobacco and alcohol, that are available to them illicitly and not in enforcing archaic laws that have no legitimate basis for disapproving cannabis as a potential medicine.
    Was Administrative Law Judge Francis Young wrong when he said, “…Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”? Why did the honorable Judge make this statement if cannabis is so dreadfully dangerous that a cancer patient can’t have access to it? He represented the D.E.A. at the time he made the statement in 1988. Is former Secretary of State George P. Schultz “off the farm” when he asks for reform? Your own people are turning against the outdated policies sustained by your department and that of the D.E.A. Further, are health care professions wrong when they suggest that cannabis is a viable option for mitigating the side effects of chemotherapy? These are people that are in the trenches and have experience that obviously goes well beyond that of your department.
    Israel recently approved medical cannabis for seriously ill patients, and the rest of the world is begging for the United States to reevaluate our current drug policies:
    We are not ignorant children who blindly follow the directives of Government agencies who do not attempt to discover the facts but continue to propagate deceptions and half-truths in order to sustain the revenue needed to continue a lose/lose situation and to keep their professional lives from being disrupted. The truth in this matter can be easily discovered by simply trying cannabis and readily discovering its true efficacy for relieving the side effects of chemotherapy. But we can’t do that, can we? In this circumstance, it is illegal to try and save your own life.
    Ultimately, how does preventing a cancer patient from gaining access to a plant, that may very well prolong their life, or at the least provide a quality of life for them that makes their treatment tolerable, serve the public’s interest and uphold the Constitution? “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are at the core of our existence as the Declaration of Independence asserts. Doesn’t that translate to trying to save one’s own life is a right?
    I apologize for sounding indignant, but I am full up with “canned responses”, “lip service” and what I see as a blatant disregard for the health and welfare of citizens whose only fault is having contracted a disease that can kill them.
    I look forward to your response…
    Donald Wright
    Cc: Senator Kelly Ayotte (NH), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Representative Guinta (1st District-NH), Governor John Lynch (NH), NORML, Americans for Safe Access, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Union Leader, the Concord Monitor

  10. Ardent! Nice word Gil! We know he can handle 2 syllables now. If he “legalize” isn’t in his vocabulary, perhaps he could handle “permit” or “allow”. We can work from there…

  11. I think the next petition should say.
    Cannabis laws are gross abuse of power and crimes against humanity. Stop this treason against the republic.

  12. The US Government WANTS a Black Market! The US Government has turned into an “ADDICT!” They evidently never heard the saying “We are the people our parents warned us against.”

  13. Funny that you (NORML) reported this. But even now, several days later, you have refused to cover this story:
    L.A. NOW
    Southern California — this just in
    « Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »
    Feds cracking down on California medical marijuana dispensaries
    October 6, 2011 | 6:28 pm
    increase text size decrease text size
    Photo: Merchandise at The Farmacy, a medical marijuana dispensary in West Hollywood. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times Federal prosecutors in California are threatening to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state, sending letters to warn landlords to stop sales of the drug within 45 days or face the possibility that their property will be seized and they will be sent to prison.
    The stepped-up enforcement appears to be a major escalation in the Obama administration’s bid to rein in the explosive spread of medical marijuana outlets that was accelerated by the announcement that federal prosecutors would not target people using medical marijuana in states that allow it.
    “It’s basically the federal bureaucracy doing what it has done for the last 15 years and just continuing to put its head in the sand and saying no on this,” said Dale Gieringer, the director of California NORML.
    The four U.S. attorneys have scheduled a news conference for Friday morning in Sacramento to outline their plans to target marijuana cultivation and sales in California. Earlier this year, the prosecutors circulated an internal memo that indicated they would focus enforcement efforts on dispensaries and growers that dealt with more than 200 kilograms or a 1,000 plants a year.
    Landlords for some dispensaries have already received letters, including the owner of the building that houses the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax, Calif., the oldest dispensary in the state. That letter notes that the dispensary is within a prohibited distance of a park, raising the possibility that prosecutors are taking aim at stores that fall within 1,000 feet of schools and parks. But letters received by dispensaries in San Diego make no mention of such distance prohibitions.
    “There’s always been a different policy depending on where you are,” said Gieringer. “They’re going to try to clean up San Diego and just cause some random damage up here.”
    As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said the federal government should not raid medical marijuana users and caregivers. Three months after Obama was inaugurated, his attorney general announced that it would be the administration’s official policy. Although California was the first state to decriminalize marijuana for medical use in 1996, it remains a federal crime to possess or sell it.
    Recently, the administration and some of its federal prosecutors have drawn strict limits on what they would tolerate. When Oakland and Berkeley began to make plans to allow industrial-scale cultivation, the U.S. attorney for the Bay Area made it that clear she would not allow it, leading those cities to shelve ambitious plans motivated by the desire for tighter regulatory control and increased tax revenues.
    The latest letters have baffled the state’s medical marijuana activists, who believe the president has broken his word. “Obama says, ‘Yes.’ The conservatives say, ‘No.’ So they get together and huddle and they settle on no,” said William G. Panzer, an Oakland lawyer who helped draft the state’s medical marijuana initiative. “The Obama administration has been incredibly disappointing on this issue.”
    There ya go! If the recent changes in Colorado’s MMJ program weren’t enough to clue you in that Obama hates you just as much as bu$h did, let this story sink in! MMJ is on it’s way out NORML! You’ve held on to this card for too long, and now big pharma has managed to make medications that can take it all away from you!!! All they have to do now, is go to the fed and say, “See we can do it as good as medical marijuana without smoking it”, and poof, the MMJ scheme you’ve been wedging the back-door of legality open with will evaporate quicker than your last bong-hit’s exhale!!!

  14. No, the reason all this is taking place is because the feds don’t like competition. Obama lied just to get in office.
    This is why people are occuping wall st, occupy everything. We don’t have to put up with that crap anymore. We know what they are hiding now. Wake up and watch the Obama Deception on you tube.
    The best jobs back in the day for farmers were hemp farming. Taking that and knowing that we have great technology where now we don’t have to use home depot or lowes (Big Business) The feds would not allow that either because it would create jobs and compete with the people that give them money to be against it. The best houses are made out of Hempcrete, completely like the counters, insullaton, walls. Google it. People in Cape Cod South Africa have hemp houses. There is 1 hemp house in America.

  15. @65 – Ozlanthos
    I think you are absolutely right. Although to any educated person it is clear that cannabis has medical benefits and properties, it is doomed to failure with the current crop of leaders this country is infected with.
    We all need to stop pushing for medical marijuana and just make it legal for all adults – period. Once that is done, then people can use it for medical or recreational. Adults should be able to make up their own minds on the subject and screw what our infected leaders (bullies in my opinion) have to say about it.
    By the way, I don’t think it is a coincidence that they are trying to get tough on anyone who uses cannabis and owns a gun. Bullies prefer to pick on the weak…

  16. Hey flat earth do you have a 215, or its equiv ? Someone voted for 215’s therefore I have one.That is why I vote. What do you suggest? The fact that only a small segment of the population votes is one of the biggest problems with it.We could be talking about adult legalization implementation, instead of trying to pass it. As hard as it maybe to believe voting , and pubic opinion matter sometimes.

  17. 43 more signatures needed to get END MARIJUANA PROHIBITION petition public on White House website, available now only at this case sensitive White House link:
    please help & click & sign!

  18. This entire administration has become nothing but a big ole lie. Time to run these crooks off and get prepared for the new crooks. It’s a sad thing when the leaders of a country become the enemy of the people.
    The only person in the government that seems to have any truth whatsoever is laughed at. WTF!
    Legalize it completely just like tomatoes. Otherwise these morons will find a way to keep their war on Americans going.
    How does any pigheaded human think they have the right or authority to make a plant that the creator made a crime?

  19. On Friday September 30th, Harborside Health Center Executive Director Steve DeAngelo presented the City of Oakland with a check for $360,483.33 -new tax revenue from the 5% cannabis tax that Oakland’s voters approved last November.
    How many jobs does this money create ?
    …..and, Obama says he’s trying to create jobs .Ha, he’s taking them away .

  20. Isnt we the people of the united states suppose to run our country i didnt vote to illegalize marijuana if anything we shuld have it for medical use we need a honest vote for the people in this issue then lets see what happenso.0

  21. Yeah, the “what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine” part of his statement worries me that big pharma is looking for a way to refine certain components and screw with it enough to patent it and charge a lot of money. When they figure out how to make billions from it then those “components” in some form will become available.

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