FDA Dubious Over Medical Marijuana

FDA Dubious Over Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on May 09, 2007 at 16:00:06 PT
By Jean Chemnick 
Washington, DC -- Such a negative vibe is a real bummer.The recognition that St. Pierre and other cannabis activists have been waiting for came on April 19, during a markup of a drug safety bill in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. An amendment by Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was adopted that required marijuana to undergo the same Food and Drug Administration approval process that other prescription drugs do.
Until this process is accomplished -- and it typically takes about five years -- those in the medical marijuana business apprehended by federal authorities could face penalties for violating FDA regulations as well as selling an illegal substance, even where state laws sanction the use. The activists say the conservative senator clearly intended to shut down medical marijuana cooperatives; California alone has about 450 of them, St. Pierre said.Steph Sherer, founder and executive director of Americans for Safe Access, which advocates for medical marijuana only, said her group learned of Coburn's amendment the night before the markup.Her staff called members of the panel to try to dissuade them from approving the amendment, and she said everyone they talked to voted against it. She's hopeful that Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), who voted with Republicans for the amendment, will change their minds.Karen Woodson, ASA's director of government affairs, said Coburn's amendment is about prohibition, not regulation. The tests necessary to secure FDA approval would be impossible to conduct, she explained, because the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute for Drug Abuse don't give researchers permission to grow marijuana.Nor can they use plants grown illegally. A NIDA spokeswoman said she could not answer questions about whether researchers would be able to obtain NIDA marijuana for drug approval purposes.The only legal marijuana plants in the country are at the University of Mississippi, which has been growing cannabis since the 1960s, initially for the National Institute of Mental Health and now for NIDA. But Ole Miss typically does not sell its weed for tests of the drug's effectiveness, Sherer said.Allen St. Pierre is bumming right now. The term "medical marijuana" finally made its way into proposed legislation in the Senate. But, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws points out, if it becomes law, there will be even more barriers to the drug's use, even in the 12 states where it's legal.Other research institutions have tried to get permission for prescription drug studies. Lyle Craker, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has been suing the federal government for three years for that right.In February, an administrative law judge who hears DEA regulatory cases ruled "there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes" and recommended that Craker's application be granted. If the DEA disagrees, the decision probably would be appealed to a federal court.St. Pierre, Sherer and other coalition members like the Marijuana Policy Project all say they'd welcome the chance to provide evidence of marijuana's therapeutic effectiveness.Sherer herself uses a marijuana tincture to treat pain from an old neck injury after her doctor found that conventional pain killers were hurting her kidneys.To Coburn's office, the time for studying is over. Roland Foster, a legislative assistant for the senator, said the FDA itself conducted a program that was terminated in the early '90s because it determined that marijuana was not effective and might even harm patients."The FDA doesn't need to conduct new tests to evaluate a drug that has been studied extensively for decades," Coburn spokesman John Hart wrote in an e-mail.However, the issue isn't totally spent. Aides to the two Democrats who supported Coburn's measure said they were unaware of any legal barriers to the licensing of marijuana.Jennifer Mullin, a spokeswoman for Harkin, said he would welcome questions about licensing as part of the debate on the floor, and Jude McCartin, a spokeswoman for Bingaman, said the senator would consider supporting changes to the provision if licensing was indeed a barrier to the FDA approval process."Nothing would make me personally happier than having to put a label on cannabis and sell it," St. Pierre said. "Boohoo."Source: (DC)Author: Jean Chemnick Published: May 9, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Capitol News Company, LLC Website: For Safe Access Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #17 posted by afterburner on May 10, 2007 at 22:05:14 PT
These Government People Are Haters
"Only love can conquer hate." -Marvin Gaye"Only love can break your heart, Only love can mend it again." -Neil Young"All you need is love." -John Lennon"God is love" 1 John 4:8"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Hosea 6:6“War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate“ -Marvin Gaye, What's Going On Hosea 6:6 (New International Version)
 6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, 
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.Matthew 9:13 (New International Version)
13But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."Footnotes:Matthew 9:13 Hosea 6:6 God doesn't need cannabis for Himself: He's already high and healthy. He created it for us!
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Comment #16 posted by John Tyler on May 10, 2007 at 19:26:19 PT
rolling the dice
Lets see you have all of these people and agencies with a negative opinion of cannabis already doing a study to determine if it can be approved as a prescription drug. Unless a miracle happens, I think the stage is set against cannabis approval and another layer of regulations against cannabis being put in place. 
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on May 10, 2007 at 14:29:18 PT
"Sad and foolish" it is, indeed.
This prohibition and war is going down in history with child labor, the Inquisition, witch burning, and slavery, and prohibition of alcohol. It's a serious wrong being caused by the self-righteous, powerful, and idiotic.Perhaps now that cop can comprehend the truth about someone being forced to suffer humiliation, losing his job, maybe even his children, and possible legal fees and all kinds of trouble, having his hands lashed behind him and put in cage for consuming some leaves of a plant.It is so idiotic. I can purchase rat poison and insect poison. There are hundreds of things around one that can kill if consumed. Life is full of danger. Cannabis is NOT one of them. I can purchase poisonous, but beautiful plants for my yard...but these wicked people, prohibitionists and drug war mongers and enforcers, have made a living out of persecution and opression. How truly ugly and perverted their spirits are.Truly.
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Comment #14 posted by mai_bong_city on May 10, 2007 at 14:17:07 PT
how sad and foolish it's all been
i still believe part of the medical answer is in the ADA. it's the feds' own guideline, and there are protections, i'm convinced.
the action class for therapeutic cannabis tried to get them to explain the IND program and refusal to open it to the rest of us....but suddenly, the federal judge hushed-up and things got burned-down.
i feel like ...a leper. perhaps i'll start a colony. 
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Comment #13 posted by dongenero on May 10, 2007 at 12:27:03 PT
as Kozmo states...........Let people grow it in their garden like the herb that it is.
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Comment #12 posted by dongenero on May 10, 2007 at 12:24:28 PT
exactly tintala!
There is not enough emphasis put on the Government program already in existence for decades!!!Open the program for all in need.....for a start.
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Comment #11 posted by tintala on May 10, 2007 at 11:41:31 PT:
WHY IS IT THERE ARE 4 or 5 people who get LEGAL
Cannabis from the government now, as SHOWN ON MONTEL WILLIAMS, and it still hasn't been approved? The drug czar on Montel said it would take 15 years for the FDA to research it, well that's not acceptable to alot of chronically ill patients!! 
"my right is my right and who are you to tell me i can't smoke ganja?" BOB MARLEY
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Comment #10 posted by Kozmo on May 10, 2007 at 11:20:50 PT
Thats my Senator
Well once again I've been embarrassed by one of my Senators. I love the people in Oklahoma but we sure elect some dumbasses as out reps.I have a question for the prohibs about this so called ammendment.
Does the FDA approve the Tomatoes people grow?
Does the FDA approve the Squash people grow ?No. Then why the hell do they neeed to approve the Cannabis that people grow for their personnal use ?It just get more rediculous everyday doesn't it.
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Comment #9 posted by mai_bong_city on May 10, 2007 at 11:20:09 PT
fda is dubious, alright.
the fda is dubious. period. and add these pushers to the list.
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Comment #8 posted by OverwhelmSam on May 10, 2007 at 07:02:04 PT
Ron Paul for President
If we are as committed to seeing an end to cannabis prosecutions as we say we are, we need to get behind Ron Paul with every bit of effort, money and resources as we can. This one guy elected as President would change the world for us. I like the part about the IRS going away too. No more intrusions into our personal finances. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 10, 2007 at 05:13:15 PT
Off Topic: Buzz Kill
Parks Department Shuts Down Pot FestMay 10 - May 16, 2007 Organizers for this year's installment of Hempstalk say they've got Tommy Chong and marijuana activist John Trudell lined up, plus a slew of musical acts to entertain the growing crowd. The one thing they don't have: a permit from the city.Complete Article:
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 09, 2007 at 20:51:21 PT
I agree. Cannabis is made the scapegoat. 
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on May 09, 2007 at 20:48:05 PT
The DEA is sick.
"Examples of the drug-mixing strategy also include candy laced with marijuana ..."US: Dealers Mix Heroin, Tylenol To Target Kids are being harmed by some aweful drugs and the DEA uses that hard drug problem / as an oppertunity to persecute cannabis.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on May 09, 2007 at 20:07:38 PT
The federal government is sick.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
     When it is in your power to do it. -0-Cannabis is not a drug. Cannabis is a plant.The plant may be used to replace drugs.
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on May 09, 2007 at 17:41:55 PT
Dealers Of Death
An amendment by Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was adopted that required marijuana to undergo the same Food and Drug Administration approval process that other prescription drugs do.Would that be the same FDA approval process that allows killer pharmaceutical drugs onto the market(over 100,000 dead per year)? Considering that cannabis has never killed, this amendment is beyond absurd. What a friggin' joke.On another note, we've long since known about the DEAlers...Venezuela Criticizes DEA As 'New Cartel': Venezuela Accuses U.S. DEA of Being a “Drug Cartel”: Ron Paul, the establishment is terrified of him! He must be doing something right...Ron Paul: Total Victory, Yet Censorship Continues: Yahoo! Censor Popular Support For Ron Paul:, Not Romney, Won First GOP Debate: Media Conspiracy Against Ron Paul: ABC Is Censoring Pro Ron Paul Comments: Release - Ron Paul Builds Momentum: WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...UPDATE -- Webster Griffin Tarpley booked for Hannity & Colmes TONIGHT(May 9th): Statement From Louder Than Words and MercuryMedia: 9/11 Truth takes control of A28 Impeachment Rally: Squad questions John Edwards about WTC7: WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
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Comment #2 posted by charmed quark on May 09, 2007 at 17:24:36 PT
The Prescription Drug Model is Wrong
Cannabis is not the same as a prescription drug where a single chemical has been isolated, like Marinol. It needs to be treated as an herbal medicine. Since it is currently illegal, we are asking for a medical exemption to use it as an herbal medication.Letting the government frame it as a prescription medication issue will always let them win.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 09, 2007 at 16:26:01 PT
I Have An Idea
Since the passing of Prop 215 in 96 we have been on a roller coaster ride. The harder they push the louder the outcry. We go around and around and it almost seems impossible to believe that any politican hasn't given the marijuana issue some thought. It isn't a demon plant. It helps sick people feel better. A Merry Heart is good medicine the Bible says.KJV: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.A natural substance that has never killed anyone but has prolonged the life of many that are critically ill should be legal. That's the bottom line for me.
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