HREF="http://www.norml.org">http://www.norml.org) August 27, 1998, London, England: The first private researcher to receive a federal license to grow marijuana for medical purposes planted his initial crop Monday. He will grow the plants at an undisclosed greenhouse research facility in the south of England.
Dr. Geoffrey Guy, chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, received permission from the federal government in June to grow marijuana for medical research. He announced in July that he will begin clinical trials to examine the therapeutic effects of whole smoked marijuana on multiple sclerosis patients, and discouraged efforts to synthesize medical compounds in the plant. "I don't see the value in taking apart something that seems to work at the moment," he previously told a House of Lords committee.
Private researchers in America who wish to follow in Guy's footsteps will be disappointed. Presently, only the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has permission to grow marijuana for research purposes. The agency almost exclusively limits it supply of marijuana to federal researchers hoping to determine harmful effects of the plant. In August 1997, a National Institute of Health (NIH) expert panel on medical marijuana urged NIDA to implement policy changes to expedite medical marijuana research, but the agency has refused to do so.
For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500 or NORML board member Rick Doblin at (617) 484-9509.