Politicians, Scientists, Celebrities Criticize Medical Marijuana Research Guidelines 12/6/99

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On December 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implemented its new
medical marijuana research guidelines amidst criticism from a coalition of medical groups, scientists, members of Congress, celebrities, and other concerned citizens.

The coalition argues that "many of the new guidelines would still be too cumbersome to enable research to move forward as expeditiously as possible." HHS's new guidelines, written in May, explicitly reject the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) recent recommendation to open a federal compassionate-use program to give individual patients immediate legal access to medical marijuana. The Washington Post endorsed IOM's position on November 6.

A statement urging HHS to modify its new guidelines was signed by Susan Sarandon, Richard Pryor, scientist
Stephen Jay Gould, former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, National Review senior editor Richard Brookhiser, AIDS Action Council, New York State Nurses Association, National Black Police Association, Reagan administration official Lyn Nofziger, and hundreds of other patients, doctors, medical organizations, and concerned citizens.

The Marijuana Policy Project delivered the statement to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala on November 29. The next day on
C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Shalala vowed to "defend" the guidelines. In response to a caller's criticism, Shalala said that the guidelines enable "the kind of rigorous research that everybody else is required to do on drugs... We need to do what we do for every drug."

"Shalala is misrepresenting reality," Chuck Thomas, director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based
Marijuana Policy Project told The Week Online. "The new federal guidelines actually place a much greater burden on medical marijuana researchers than on drug companies that develop and study newly synthesized pharmaceuticals."

For more info, see http://www.mpp.org/guidelines/sign1.html (signatories), http://www.mpp.org/guidelines/sign2.html (Congressional signatories), http://www.mpp.org/guidelines/ltr1.html (letter to Donna Shalala) and http://www.mpp.org/guidelines/ltr2.html
(Congressional letter to Secretary Shalala).

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Issue #117, 12/6/99 Graves at Border Illustrate Consequences of Prohibition | Eisenhower Foundation Finds Drug War, Hard Line Criminal Justice Policies Not Working, Violence Remains High | Politicians, Scientists, Celebrities Criticize Medical Marijuana Research Guidelines | McCormick, McWilliams Denied Medical Marijuana Defense, Enter Pleas | Other Medical Marijuana News | Judge Judy Slammed in Australia and US for Needle Exchange Remarks | AIDS Action Grades Clinton Administration, Congress an F in Prevention | University Will Not Operate Safe-Injecting Room; Uniting Church Steps In | Calendar Update | Job and Internship Opportunities | On the Web: Corporate Watch Feature on the Prison Industry | COMMENTARY: Judge Judy Biased and Illogical on Needle Exchange Issue | Editorial: Mass Graves in Mexico
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