Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Researchers Press DEA to Let Them Grow Marijuana"

Read the full article by Marc Kaufman in The Washington Post of May 24, 2007.

Kaufman writes:
Armed with a legal decision in their favor, scientists and advocates of medical research on marijuana pressed the Drug Enforcement Administration yesterday to allow them to grow their own, saying that pot supplied by the government is too hard to get and that its poor quality limits their research.

The proponents said a DEA administrative law judge's recent ruling that it would be in "the public interest" to have additional marijuana grown -- and to break the government's monopoly on growing it -- had put them closer to their goal than ever before......

The agency has opposed petitions that would end the government's marijuana monopoly, saying that the current system works well and that allowing other growers could lead to more diversion to illicit use. All the marijuana produced for research is grown at the University of Mississippi and distributed through the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

But a petition filed in 2001 by University of Massachusetts agronomy professor Lyle E. Craker seeking to grow marijuana in his greenhouses has worked its way through the DEA appeal process and resulted in a ruling against the agency earlier this year.
Comment: It is hard to believe that the DEA objections to qualified researchers growing marijuana are legitimate, and indeed the judge did not find that to be true. One third of legitimate pharmaceutical products are based on natural products, and many more were synthesized as a result of efforts to improve upon or find a better path to production of a natural pharmaceutical product. In addition, the species of plants from which marijuana is produced has other uses, and still more might be found by research. Given the flood of marijuana that appears to be available in the United States from illegal sources, the added risk from theft of materials produced by researchers under controlled growing conditions seems minimal or non-existant. This again seems like an example of government officials restricting the freedom of scientific research in order to pander to the interests of a political constituency. JAD

No comments: