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Senators Press Feds For Answers Regarding Medical Marijuana Research


congress medical marijuanaBy Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with seven other Senators, has directed a letter to 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.

Source: NORML - make a donation


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  • Helen

    Looks like you found a loophole! Brilliant!

  • ihydrocarbon

    Thanks, I thought I posted a reply to this with a link and a dismissal on a technicality.

    Not sure why it does not appear here, regardless I’m not seeing any precedent in case law that suggests that CSA scheduling of cannabis may be upheld if challenged on the facts unless the facts are suppressed.

  • ihydrocarbon

    Much appreciated, however while the case highlights my position* it is denied on several technicalities.

    Sure, I get that courts have ruled that it’s somehow not relevant that the CSA states falsely that cannabis has no safe, accepted medical use despite the existence of medical cannabis laws in many of those United States.

    Millions are harmed, even killed because of such perjury and willful ignorance.

    In an age of Kickstarter funding, it is clearly ripe for challenge.

    *see: http://edca.typepad.com/files/schweder-order.pdf

  • Helen

    Your questions change constantly. Now your asking about the test for determining whether a party has standing to bring a claim. But don’t worry, because you are in luck! Here is a precedent that will answer all your questions: U.S. v. Schweder, United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.


    (Technically, Judg Mueller’s order does not constitute legal precedent, but she cites all the relevant cases that you are looking for in support of her decision on the scheduling question. Go nuts.)

  • ihydrocarbon

    With respect, rights to life and liberty are infringed by a policy that was and continues to be made possible by demonstrably false claims under oath before Congress and the courts that remain a part of the public record.

    This policy that restrains trade promotes enormously profitable “legal” and contraband alternatives that kill in epidemic proportions, even as voting rights are restricted and indisputable facts that would otherwise be entered as exculpatory evidence are suppressed from court cases across the country.

    Rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and freedoms from unreasonable searches and seizures are not enough to obtain standing? By what precedent, kind madam?

  • Helen

    Please re-phrase your question. We aren’t talking about a fundamental right. The right to bear arms, for example, is a fundamental right. The right to grow/sell/use cannabis is not a fundamental right.

  • ihydrocarbon

    With respect, please provide citations or precedent that supports that.

    Where in case law is the systematic denial of a fundamental right determined to be a legitimate government interest?

  • Helen


    Cannabis scheduling hinges on the three Schedule 1 factors, one of which is accept medical use, plus the 5 additional DEA factors (e.g., does the substance have a “known and reproducible chemistry”). And it’s the DEA, not the courts, who make that decision. As the Mueller case made clear, the role of the courts is, in effect, to decide whether qualified experts disagree, because if they do, the statute passes the rational basis test; in that case, it would be “rational” for Congress to choose either side.

  • ihydrocarbon

    “constitutional law requires far more than walking into a courtroom and waving the JAMA paper in the air.”

    citation or precedent, please.

    Per the Controlled Substances Act, does cannabis’ current scheduling hinge on the demonstrably false claim that it has no accepted medical use in the United States?

  • marty j

    Well said!

  • jason

    Ok so this is a published medical use, so cannabis should immediately be De-scheduled or dropped to schedule 2…where is the ACLU and NORML on this??