In its efforts to continue a war on medical marijuana that exceeds even the efforts by the Bush administration, the Obama administration has rejected a petition to “Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana To Treat Their PTSD.”
It is already well documented that Barack Obama has backed off his 2008 campaign promise not to go after medical marijuana dispensaries. An effort by disabled vets to allow limited use of medical marijuana was an opportunity to begin to correct this broken campaign promise.
Unfortunately, the official in charge of the administration’s drug policy is the resident Neanderthal — Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske.
Kerlikowske’s response to the petition was pure nonsense:
“When the President took office, he directed all his policymakers to develop policies on science and research, not ideology or politics.”
That statement is laughable. If the administration really wanted to base medical marijuana research on science, it would not have maintained the stiff regulations that allow research. Kerlikowske’s position is the one with ideology and politics. Add in an election year, and the well-being of veterans who have risked their lives for their country is worth less than a joint.
Last fall, Scientific American reported on the dismal state of research allowed by the federal government for medical marijuana use.
Preliminary clinical trials show marijuana might be useful for pain, nausea and weight loss in cancer and HIV/AIDS and for muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. Medical marijuana studies in the U.S. are dwindling fast, however, as funding for research in California—the only state to support research on the whole cannabis plant—comes to an end this year and federal regulations on obtaining marijuana for study remain tight.
In July, the Drug Enforcement Administration denied a petition, first filed in 2002 and supported by the American Medical Association, to change marijuana’s current classification. So marijuana remains in the administration’s most tightly controlled category, Schedule I, defined as drugs that “have a high potential for abuse” and “have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.”
Therefore, marijuana cannot be researched because it is classified as a “high potential for abuse.” In the process, research that the feds might then be able to use to adequately evaluate its pros and cons cannot happen. That makes it convenient for people like Kerlikowske to continue to call it dangerous when the opportunity to refute that is nearly impossible.
Kerlikowske should be ashamed for this kind of political trickery. Attorney General Eric Holder should be ashamed as well for increasing the pressure on states supporting medical marijuana. Behind both of their misguided policies sits Obama. At some point in this campaign, he needs to address why he shifted 180 degrees on his medical marijuana policy.
Kerlikowske tried to stake his position on the premise that marijuana is a dangerous drug.
“We know from an array of treatment admission information and federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms,” Kerlikowske said.
There are scores of more dangerous drugs like cocaine, heroin and PCP that have limited or no medical value. These assumptions are widely accepted. Yet marijuana, which is near impossible to overdose on, remains in that same group of drugs.
If Kerlikowske really believed what he was saying about marijuana being a “significant source” of drug abuse, then he would look at alcohol and cigarettes. Far more people have their lives destroyed with these legal drugs than marijuana.
Kerlikowske is trying to hide behind science and research, but all he has showing is his own lack of common sense.