- adapted from NORML weekly news, http://www.norml.org
The Senate approved a "sense of the Senate" resolution on April 3 denying funding for any future medical marijuana research projects. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), is included in Senate Concurrent Resolution 86, a measure outlining Congressional budgets for the next five years. Although the amendment is not legally binding, the resolution may influence Congress when determining funding levels for health and research programs. NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup said:,"This amendment is a slap in the face to respected scientific and medical institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Cancer Society, and others -- all of which have recently urged the federal government to facilitate clinical trials to better determine marijuana's therapeutic potential." Senate Amendment 2180 states that "no funds appropriated by Congress should be used to... fund or support, or to compel any individual, institution, or government entity to... support any item, good, benefit, program, or service, for the purpose of marijuana for medicinal purposes." Smith argued that his amendment will help ensure that America's children are not sent mixed messages on drug use."
Currently, all scientific protocols to examine marijuana's medical potential must receive federal funds. According to Rick Doblin –- head of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies -- this is because the only legal supplier of marijuana for research purposes remains the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and that agency will only consider providing marijuana to projects that have passed the NIH grant review process. NIH is currently funding only one study regarding marijuana's medical potential. Senate Con. Res. 86 now goes to the House for consideration.
For more information, contact either Paul Armentano or Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500.