Medical Pot Advocates Sue Feds

Medical Pot Advocates Sue Feds
Posted by CN Staff on February 21, 2007 at 10:28:07 PT
By Josh Richman, Staff Writer
Source: Oroville Mercury-Register 
California -- Medical marijuana advocates have sued the federal Department of Health and Human Services, accusing it of lying to the nation about the drug's lack of accepted medical use despite scientific studies showing its efficacy. The lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Oakland, comes a week after the release of a controlled, clinical University of California, San Francisco study showing HIV patients who smoked marijuana found relief from chronic foot pain.
"We are asking the courts to weigh in on the science ... and force the government to stop making false statements about medical cannabis," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access.ASA attorney Joe Elford said the lawsuit is brought under the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which provides for judicial review and reversal of any agency action found to be arbitrary and capricious.ASA in October 2004 had petitioned the Department of Health and Human Services and its subordinate Food and Drug Administration under the Data Quality Act, a 2000 law requiring information circulated by federal agencies to be fair, objective and meet certain quality guidelines. That law lets citizens challenge government information believed to be inaccurate or based on bad data; ASA's petition claimed the government has ignored scientific studies and medical consensus on marijuana's efficacy as medicine.HHS denied the petition in 2005 and denied an appeal in July 2006. Those decisions are arbitrary and capricious, Elford said, and so Americans for Safe Access has been biding its time ever since to sue."We aimed to file this lawsuit at a time when the country was talking about the science," Sherer said, but her group doesn't think it even needs the newly released UCSF study to bolster its case; it believed the science was solid enough when it petitioned HHS in 2004."The federal government has had enough information in front of it for years to break the gridlock on this issue," she said. "We're suing to demand that the FDA stop holding science hostage to politics."Sherer is one of four medical-marijuana users used as examples in the lawsuit. She suffered a neck injury in 2000 and later developed kidney problems from the ibuprofen and other painkillers she'd been prescribed. The government told her marijuana had no medical use, so she was delayed in seeking a doctor's advice to the contrary and finding relief, she says.California voters approved medical use of marijuana by passing Proposition 215 in 1996, but federal law still bans the drug's cultivation, possession and use. Despite years of lobbying by advocates, it remains on the nation's list of most-restricted drugs -- along with substances such as heroin and LSD -- without accepted medical use. And despite a 1999 federal Institute of Medicine study urging more research, studies like UCSF's still face enormous obstacles and so remain rare.Medical marijuana patients Angel Raich of Oakland and Diane Monson of Oroville sued federal law enforcement officials in 2002, claiming the federal government lacks authority to prosecute California's patients and providers. The U.S. Supreme Court in June 2005 ruled 6-3 to uphold federal prosecutions, finding that even marijuana grown in back yards for personal medical use can affect or contribute to the illegal interstate marijuana market and so is within Congress' constitutional reach.But the court, in a footnote, did "acknowledge that evidence proffered by respondents in this case regarding the effective medical uses for marijuana, if found credible after trial, would cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the findings that require marijuana to be listed" among the most-restricted drugs.Source: Oroville Mercury-Register (CA)Author: Josh Richman, Staff WriterPublished: February 21, 2007Copyright: 2007 Oroville Mercury RegisterContact: biano cncnet.comWebsite: For Safe Access Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #4 posted by doc james on February 23, 2007 at 06:31:14 PT
something new
in the news every week about how cannabis helps with certain afflictions. As has been said, there are mountains of evidence and it is about freakin time someone brought them to task for their perpetuation of lies and deceit. I was involved in a similar suit against the feds to restore the IND program to all not just a few and we actually made 3 rounds in court b4 we lost, but, WE TRIED! 300 something patients and a hell of a defense team including Gaitwood Galbraith of KY and Ed Panzer from Oakland, Hirsch from Philadelphia brainstormed the whole of it and was the main counsel. I miss those days but am ready to continue the fight! It's time to put the lies to rest for good!
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on February 22, 2007 at 08:09:34 PT
Holy smoke!
And GollyGee...they're going to try to make the government stop lying??? Even on just ONE topic, that's one heck of a task!!!! And it's about freaking time someone called them on their lies!As my saintly grandfather, the Rev. John Schwabenland said, "If the truth won't do, then something is wrong!" Words to live by- especially if you're the government!
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on February 21, 2007 at 17:22:11 PT
It's about time. There are mountains of evidence which prove that the feds have been lying all along. 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 21, 2007 at 10:30:17 PT
This is Good News
More small steps.
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