Senators Press Feds for Answers Regarding the State of Medical Marijuana Research

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with seven other Senators, has directed a letter tmj_researcho the Obama administration demanding regulators answer questions specific to the facilitation of research into the medical benefits of marijuana.

Senators acknowledged the need for unbiased research. They wrote, “While the federal government has emphasized research on the potential harms associated with the use of marijuana, there is still very limited research on the potential health benefits of marijuana — despite the fact that millions of Americans are now eligible
by state law to use the drug for medical purposes.”

The Senators applauded a recent decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate the HHS Public Health Service review process. But they also acknowledged the drawbacks of NIDA’s monopoly on supply of marijuana for research purposes and the need for alternative providers.

Senators also questioned marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law and its classification under international treaties and if the FDA is prepared to call for the reclassification of cannabidiol.

Addressed to the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the letter signals to many that medical marijuana is becoming an even more important issue in the political sphere not only to voters but also to their elected officials.

Co-signing the letter with Senator Warren  were Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). The Senators are seeking a reply to their questions from the administration by August 31.

17 thoughts

  1. Remove it from any kind of schedule. It will simply not be in a schedule anymore. It will no longer be illegal.

  2. This just in from the Huffington Post after President Obama’s historic visit to a Federal Prison in Oklahoma, the first acting president to EVER do so…

    “Overhauling prison sentencing is an issue [Obama] has set as a key goal for his final months in the White House. On Tuesday, he called on the U.S. Congress to send him a sentencing reform bill by the end of the year.”

    The President blamed “non-violent offenses” and our nation’s “drug policy” for the cause of incarcerating over a quarter of the world’s prison population while the U.S. makes up only %10 of the world’s population, and cited the disproportionate number of men of color in prisons for using the same amount of drugs as white populations. To add to the narrative, he addressed the irony of how easily he could have been incarcerated as well, referring to his own marijuana and cocaine use in his memoir, Dreams of My Father.

    We gratefully commend the President for his bold challenge to Congress before elections. Now he is acting like a true leader.

    Now put some teeth in it Obama; tell Congress its “by the end of this year or executive action to deschedule.”

    With Rand Paul on the campaign trail were going to need every Republican Congressman we can find to co-sponsor and cooperate with Democrats on the CARERS Act. $#!+ just got real…

  3. How can Marijuana be Schedule 1 when Marinol, pure THC, the psychoactive component of Marijuana is Schedule 3?

    From a logic standpoint, there’s no possible way to justify that.

    Since Marijuana is only partially THC and THC is Schedule 3, from a logic standpoint, Marijuana, which is less concentrated, would have to be the same schedule, or a less restrictive one.

    If you look at the DEA schedules, that how it works with every other drug — less concentrated forms of drugs are on less restrictive schedules than the pure versions of them.

  4. Our state senators still think cannabis has no medicinal value. They think cannabis is only another intoxicant people want to enjoy and they are against anyone enjoying anything.

  5. the federal government would have us believe that is ok to smoke cigarettes or its legal. the government puts warnings because they know it causes cancer yet its legally sold. the government allows the legal sale of alcohol. the government again warns us that consumption of alcohol causes liver heart and other damage yet again its sold legally. that same government makes a fortune on taxing the afore mentioned products. now this same exact government has acknowledged that marijuana relieves symptoms and in some cases cures the very same diseases that cigarettes and alcohol cause. so the cause is legal the cure is against the law . Call me crazy but there is no way that is right. the fact that it is even a political discussion is a waste if time and money because they already know what they need to about safety they just haven’t figured out how to make money from us on a federal level. they better hurry the cause kills taxpayers less income .

  6. As in the age, that I am, 61/w/f, have seen the old guard sloooly over time drop out because of age. Put 30-40 years there and you have a lot of these old f–ks that have controlled everything! They have taken the true potential of what a great country we have, and pretty well put it in the drink! Nixon, Hearst,Nancy R,and the rest! My husband bought me “Refer Madness”. What a hoot! He doesn’t partake, but feels fully that mj consumption is a personal choice. As we all know the $ machine has been chugging along. I used to think the total savings of legalization, would be around 9B$. Boy am I off! I get so excited when I hear that Ohio is getting close to legal status. For years I have felt like a criminal, self medicating. Although I didn’t know that was what it was, till I stopped 16 years ago, not of my own choice, but demographics! Up till then I smoked everyday. Slowly things started up, and then the Drs. and the pills, with their side effects! At one time I was sleeping 18 hrs a day! I have tried to commit suicide twice, severe depression, PTSD, Pain from back and shoulder injuries. I was fine till I stopped using!!!! When Obama opened the WH feed for everyone to sign on line about 6 years ago, I was one, who told my story. I sat and read a lot of those fellow writer’s stories. I was amazed at the honesty and caliber of the stories. Did Mr. Obama really read any of those postings? How insane is the fact that so few make the laws, that control all of us! We need to be where our votes really count! Term limits, remove PACS, THE $ RUNS THE COUNTRY, NOT THE PEOPLE! It’s on all of us to take back our country like we stopped the Viet Nam WAR!!!

  7. How could there be no mention of Senators Hatch, Grassley, and Feinstein having written recent articles calling for mmj reform, all of a sudden? The name, Orrin Hatch, used to always seem to evoke something out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting… And Grassley and Feinstein just both authored a Hell-Froze-Over piece in Time Magazine!!! Hello??

    [Paul Armentano responds: NORML covered the recent federal hearing where both Sens. Grassley and Feinstein expressed their support for research here:

  8. I’m exceedingly grateful for your precise reporting in this article, Danielle Keane. This is very welcome news.

    We must write our U.S. Senators en masse, deluge them with old fashioned ink on paper letters, and implore them to take action with no further delay. Remind them that it was entirely legal to grow cannabis plants–there was complete freedom from prohibitive federal or state laws–for the first 160 years of United States history. The record clearly shows that Thomas Jefferson had reasoned that cannabis was “…of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country,” while George Washington had commanded future generations to “sow it everywhere.” WTF happened? In 1937, the U.S. Congress empowered an Anti-Marihuana Tyranny to dominate this matter, that’s what happened. It really goes back to the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act, when Congress set up the smaller Anti-Opium and Anti-Coca Tyrannies. The result of a full 100 years of Drug Wars? Illicit heroin is everywhere, causing tragic overdose deaths. Cocaine is still widely available and consumed, even by politicians and lawyers. For most people, cannabis flower is usually a phone call away in cities and towns nationwide. My point is that our U.S. senators and representatives NEVER had the right to dictate what types of plants Americans can grow on their own private property. The very notion of prohibiting medicinal plants epitomizes treason in the ‘land of the free.’ Let’s demand that Congress end this madness. By tomorrow.

  9. Dear Paul, I know about last month’s NORML coverage. I’m talking about yesterday’s (7/16/15) Time Magazine article, personally authored by Senators Feinstein and Grassley, themselves:

    Even Senator Orrin Hatch’s personally authored article was published in Washington Times three days after NORML’s last coverage:

    I’m just disappointed that everyone here seems to miss these incredible articles, by these notorious, Senatorial octagenarians…??

    [Paul Armentano responds: Look for additional coverage of these developments in this week’s NORML news release.]

  10. It occurred to me that another way President Obama could have phrased his speech to the prisoners is that,

    “If my drug dealer from college hadn’t been murdered by his gay lover by a ball-peen hammer I might have been arrested in this prison with y’all…”

    What an odd world of juxtaposed reality we live in…

  11. “I continue to oppose marijuana and efforts to legalize its use. I remain unconvinced by claims that it is safe and that the side effects it causes are no big deal. Stories of children being rushed to the hospital for accidentally consuming marijuana edibles belie the notion that marijuana is a safe drug. In fact, I am currently working on legislation to help protect children from the dangers of edible marijuana products.”

    I don’t know, that literally sounds like the same stupid shit I was hearing 1985. “Maybe we can make medicine from marijuana, but the plant material is just inappropriate for use as medicine”. This has literally been the words used by the government to stop US from learning about marijuana. Hatch is still too concerned with keep marijuana out of kids hands that he keep putting marijuana into kids hands by dyslexicaly banning and thus turning the kids into marijuana dealers. We need to invest in studying this kind of stupidity–It appears to limitless!

  12. Dear Norml,
    I believe there is an isomer or combination of isomers for every cannabinoid present in raw marijuana to cure all the illnesses of mankind. See U.S patent 6630507. We know this/have patents on the books for the idea but “they” those beholden to big pharma or just plain idiot politicians in general will not let simple scientific research for consenting adults be legal. It is criminal. We have yet to test illegal cannabinoids like JWH-018, for example, for conditions like cancer, etc. in human studies. I have taken organic chemistry and understand a little about the synergistic effects, however, but who is to say that one synthetic compound might treat glaucoma or AIDS and another might treat cancer better? These are questions that next gen pharmaceutical researchers need to answer for drugs isolated/made from cannabis for maybe severe cases, or MAYBE NOT tinker with nature and give us our whole plant medicine. Shout out from PA.

  13. I believe research is the key to unlock all the unanswered questions remaining, in the matter of cannabidiol, its medicinal properties and any side effects that accompany its use, if any. Rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug, is also necessary in order to secure prompt action from the DEA, in issuing the licensing needed to conduct research in the states where it is legal. The implementation of the dissolution of NIDA’s monopoly on supply of marijuana for research purposes, mandated immediately. It is a multi-step process. I suffer from Sjorgren’s syndrome and need CBD in hopes of living a better quality of life. It’s not about getting high, for some of us! It’s about just living!

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