UMass Professor Drops Bid To Grow Medical Pot
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UMass Professor Drops Bid To Grow Medical Pot
Posted by CN Staff on March 04, 2011 at 05:48:16 PT
By Andrew Miga, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Washington -- A University of Massachusetts-Amherst professor says he's dropping his nearly decade-long fight to persuade the government to let him grow marijuana in bulk for medical research.Horticulturist Lyle Craker wanted to cultivate marijuana to boost research into the plant's potential medicinal benefits. But he's been rebuffed — even as more than a dozen states have legalized medical marijuana.
Craker, 70, said he saw no end in sight to the legal wrangling, given the likelihood of an appeals process that could run several years, or even decades. He was frustrated, too, that he never got a hoped-for boost from the Obama administration."I'm disappointed in our system," he said. "But I'm not disappointed at what we did. I think our efforts have brought the problem to the public eye more. ... This is just the first battle in a war."Craker, who said he has never smoked marijuana, launched his challenge to the government's monopoly on growing and distributing research marijuana in 2001. A lab at the University of Mississippi is the government's only marijuana-growing facility.Craker contends that the government-grown pot lacks the potency medical researchers need for breakthroughs. He said there isn't enough of the drug freely available for scientists across the country."I'm disappointed mostly because of all the patients who could potentially benefit," he said.The Drug Enforcement Administration has blocked Craker and defended the government's marijuana, saying its Mississippi facility provides the necessary quality and quantity for legitimate researchers. The DEA has said permitting other marijuana growers would lead to greater illegal use of the drug.Craker won a key victory in 2007 when a federal administrative law judge recommended to the DEA that it grant Craker's application to grow marijuana in bulk for use by scientists in government-approved research. In a nonbinding ruling, the judge said the government's supply was inadequate for medical research.But the DEA ruled against Craker in January 2009 in the waning days of the Bush administration. Craker hoped Obama administration officials would view his case more favorably, but his motion for the DEA to reconsider his case has languished.Craker and his attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union decided to drop their case.Craker said he's puzzled why the Obama administration has eased its policy toward states on medical marijuana but won't reconsider his request."All we want to do is to produce the material that medical doctors want to use for tests," he said.Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. In a move that energized the medical marijuana movement, the Obama administration has said it won't target medical marijuana patients or caregivers as long as they comply with state laws and aren't fronts for drug traffickers.Fifteen states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana.In California, the state's landmark 1996 medical marijuana law allows users only to grow pot for themselves or obtain it from a designated primary caregiver.Pot dispensaries in California have operated largely free from interference by having users designate the dispensary as their primary caregiver.Craker has said much more research is needed to determine which types of marijuana can be medically beneficial and how the drug should be used."It would be nice to be able to develop plant material that would be specific for glaucoma, specific to inhibit vomiting and all those other things that the plant is credited with doing," he said. "Currently, people with ailments are taking pot shots or they are going to illegal sources, which I suspect most of them are."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Andrew Miga, Associated PressPublished: March 4, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 08, 2011 at 13:48:34 PT
News Article From RawStory
ACLU: DEA’s Politics are Keeping Cannabis-Based Medicines Off Shelves***By Stephen C. WebsterTuesday, March 8th, 2011 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) does not commonly take an active role in matters pertaining to the drug war, but in the case of Dr. Lyle E. Craker, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, outspoken is certainly one way to describe their position. Craker's name might sound familiar to keen observers of the drug war. After a decade of waging a hard-fought battle with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which repeatedly denied his application for the production of medical marijuana, he recently said he would call it quits, resigning his fight in bitter defeat.The last DEA ruling against him came in January 2009, and contradicted the recommendation of DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner. His appeal of that decision languished for so long that last week, he and attorneys with the ACLU decided to drop the case."I'm disappointed in our system," the 70-year-old professor told the Associated Press last week. "But I'm not disappointed at what we did. I think our efforts have brought the problem to the public eye more. ... This is just the first battle in a war."On Monday evening, the ACLU released its final brief on Craker's case, which calls on the DEA to grant research permits for the production of medical cannabis. They also flatly state that cannabis medicines have not yet cleared the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is because of the DEA's pernicious politics and tight monopoly on the granting of production licenses."The federal government’s official policy is that marijuana has no medical benefit," they noted. "But the government is unwilling to put its policy to the test of science: instead, the government exercises monopoly control over the nation’s supply of marijuana that may be used for scientific purposes, by allowing an agency whose mission is to explore the consequences of the abuse of marijuana—the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—to determine what research may go forward regarding marijuana’s beneficial medical uses. The result is that [...] marijuana alone out of all potential medicines is subject to a special and obstructive process that places politics over science."Currently, the DEA has the marijuana plant as a "Schedule I" drug: a classification reserved for street drugs like heroin with no real medicinal value. However, the agency recently reclassified the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, the chemical compound THC, to "Schedule III," thereby allowing pharmaceutical companies to begin producing cannabis-based drugs. The move was criticized by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) as the height of hypocrisy. The group suggested the DEA was merely legalizing marijuana for big business to repackage and resell at exorbitant prices, while keeping penalties in place for anyone who grows the plant itself. Thanks to the reclassification of the drug and not the plant, major pharmaceutical companies will soon be able to purchase synthesized THC from a government-licensed producer. Research on the drug's source, however -- the actual cannabis plant -- remains forbidden. And therein lies the problem, Craker's attorneys at the ACLU wrote."NIDA’s monopoly, created by DEA’s refusal to license any additional bulk manufacturer, has resulted in a dearth of privately-funded medical marijuana research for over 40 years. Until DEA ends the NIDA monopoly by registering another bulk manufacturer, such as Dr. Craker, to produce marijuana for privately-funded researchers, there cannot be an adequate and uninterrupted supply of marijuana for research intended to obtain FDA approval of marijuana as a prescription medicine."As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, President Barack Obama said he was in favor of eliminating the most stringent criminal penalties for marijuana possession, but has maintained that he does not support outright legalization. In a recent interview, the director of the Office on National Drug Control Policy said that prescription pills are by far the nation's largest drug problem, and warned that if marijuana were legal, more people might use it.Currently, 15 states and the District of Colombia allow marijuana to be prescribed as medicine.The ACLU's full brief was available online (PDF).URL:
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Comment #4 posted by Storm Crow on March 05, 2011 at 11:06:33 PT
"Nice" is putting it mildly!
One of my biggest gripes with the medical community is that the studies that do get done, are done with "Cannabis sativa", not "White Widow Cannabis sativa with a cannabinoid profile of X% THC, Y% CBD, with high levels of the following terpines...."! One of these days, perhaps science will catch up with what the "potheads" already know- different strains have different effects!And as a FYI- my local dispensary now gives receipts with the name and % of THC for the strain you buy. A good start!
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on March 04, 2011 at 19:17:16 PT
That would be nice.
"It would be nice to be able to develop plant material that would be specific for glaucoma, specific to inhibit vomiting and all those other things that the plant is credited with doing,"...But of course, as we know... trying to end this prohibition and all it's poison, harsh judgment, cruelty, corruption, death, and ruin, has been long, long years of trying to reason with apparently insane people... the Prohibitionists, great, and small, and everything in between.
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Comment #2 posted by paul armentano on March 04, 2011 at 13:18:03 PT
Reforms moving forward in New Engalnd New England The New Hotbed For Marijuana Law Reform?Fri, 04 Mar 2011 20:38:45 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
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The northeast has historically been a hotbed for marijuana use — with five of the six New England states self-reporting some of the highest percentages of marijuana consumption in the nation. But recently New England has also become a regional leader in marijuana law reform.Lawmakers in every New England state are now debating marijuana law reform legislation. Here’s a closer look at what’s happening.Connecticut: The nutmeg state is the only northeast state besides New Hampshire that has yet to enact some form of marijuana decriminalization or medicalization. But that drought may end this year. Weeks ago, newly elected Democrat Gov. Dan Malloy publicly affirmed his support for legislation that seeks to reduce minor marijuana possession to a noncriminal offense. Malloy endorsed reducing adult marijuana possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine) to an infraction, punishable by a nominal fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. Gov. Malloy has also spoken out in favor of legalizing the physician-authorized use of medical marijuana. (Similar legislation was passed by the legislature in 2007, but was vetoed by then-Gov. Jodi Rell.) You can contact your state elected officials in favor of both of these proposals here and here. You can also get involved with Connecticut NORML here.Maine: Maine voters have twice approved ballot initiatives in recent years addressing the medical use and distribution of medical cannabis. And in 2009, Maine lawmakers increased the amount of marijuana that may be classified as a civil offense from 1.25 ounces to 2.5 ounces (the second highest threshold in the nation). This year state lawmakers have introduced a pair of bills, LD 754 and LD 750, to expand the state’s existing marijuana decriminalization law. LD 754 would amend existing law so that the adult possession of over 2.5 ounces but less than 5 ounces is classified as a civil violation. LD 750 would amend existing law so that the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants by an adult is also classified as a civil violation. Both measures have been referred to the Joint Committee Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. You can contact your lawmakers in support of these measures here. NORML is also working with state lawmakers regarding the introduction of separate legislation to legalize adult marijuana possession, production, and distribution. You can learn more about this pending legislation here.Massachusetts: In 2008, a whopping 65 percent of voters in endorsed Question 2 decriminalizing the adult possession of an ounce or less of cannabis to a fine-only civil offense. Now a coalition of state lawmakers are backing House Bill 1371 to legalize and regulate adult marijuana production and sales in Massachusetts. You can watch a 60-minute discussion with the bill’s lead sponsor and supporter here. You can contact your state elected officials in support of HB 1371 here, or by visiting the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition/NORML here. You can learn about a separate state legislative effort to regulate the use of medical marijuana here.New Hampshire: Lawmakers this week heard testimony in favor of House Bill 442, which legalizes the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana. (Similar legislation passed both the House and the Senate in 2009, but was vetoed by Governor John Lynch.) You can write your lawmakers in favor of HB 442 via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here, or by contacting Island: In coming days, Rhode Island state regulators will become only the third in the nation to begin licensing medical marijuana dispensaries. A coalition of lawmakers is also debating the amending the state’s penalties for non-patients. House Bill 5031 amends state law so that the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is reduced from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a civil offense, punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. You can voice your support for HB 5031 by clicking here.Vermont: Two separate marijuana law reform measures are pending before Vermont lawmakers. Senate Bill 17 proposes expanding the state’s medical marijuana law to permit the establishment of two nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. You can learn more about this measure here. House Bill 427 amends state law so that the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is reduced from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by six months in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a civil offense, punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. Passage of the measure, which has been endorsed by Democrat Governor Peter Shumlin, will allow state law enforcement to reallocate an estimated $700,000 annually in criminal justice resources. You can contact your House member in support of HB 427 here.For up-to-date information on marijuana law reform measures pending in other states, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.
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Comment #1 posted by Storm Crow on March 04, 2011 at 09:58:16 PT
"Saving face"
Our government has almost 75 years of lying invested in the War on Drugs. To admit now that they have made an error, will cause them to "lose face". Somehow the government finds it is better to continue caging (and robbing) innocent citizens for using a safe, enjoyable herbal medicine, than to "act like an adult" and admit they were wrong. When will governments begin to function on a level that is above the emotional equivalent of a kindergartener? 
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