Newsbrief: Researchers Sue DEA, NIDA for Blocking Medical Marijuana Research 7/23/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


In a pair of lawsuits filed Wednesday, researchers accused the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of violating federal law in blocking research on medical marijuana. They were joined as plaintiffs in the cases by Valerie Corral, cofounder of the Wo/Men/s Alliance for Medical Marijuana ( in Santa Cruz, California, a medical marijuana patient.

The lawsuits stem from the federal government's refusal to act on one application for a research facility for medical marijuana that has been pending for three years and to allow researchers seeking to study vaporization to obtain marijuana for their research. Dr. Lyle Craker, director of the Medicinal Plant Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, filed an application with DEA to approve a facility that would produce marijuana for US Food and Drug Administration-approved research. Despite the support of home-state Sens. John Kerry (D) and Edward Kennedy (D), DEA has not responded.

The DEA's inaction violates the federal Administrative Procedures Act, charged the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (, which would sponsor the facility.

"We first filed our application with the DEA on June 25, 2001," Craker explained. "After three years of waiting and repeated delays, we still don't have an answer. There is an urgent need for an alternative supply of marijuana for medical research," he said. "Independent sources are allowed to produce other Schedule I drugs -- including MDMA (ecstasy) -- for research, but NIDA maintains a monopoly on research marijuana. Many researchers believe that NIDA's monopoly is an obstacle to getting needed studies done on a timely basis."

NIDA has refused to supply marijuana for at least two FDA-approved research studies, said the lawsuit against the DEA. Thus, the naming of NIDA as a respondent.

MAPS also charges the DEA with blocking efforts to obtain 10 grams of marijuana for a study of vaporizer technology, which could reduce or eliminate smoking-related hazards of marijuana use. MAPS sought to import 10 grams from the Dutch Office of Medical Cannabis on June 24, 2003, but the DEA has refused to act. NIDA has also refused to supply material from its Mississippi pot farm.

"We should welcome, rather than feel threatened by, scientific research into the medical uses of marijuana," said Dr. Barbara Roberts, former senior policy analyst and acting deputy director for demand reduction in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, who left in September 2003 after serving for 10 years. "DEA licensing of the UMass Amherst facility, importation, and timely reviews by HHS of protocols are solutions, not problems."

"This litigation is necessary because of the federal government's obstructionism regarding medical marijuana research," said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, which, along with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, has supported this legal effort. "The government regularly claims that if marijuana were really medicine, it would already have been approved by the FDA, and that more research is needed, yet they have not only failed to support medical research, they've actively obstructed it."

Read the complaints at and online.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #347, 7/23/04 Commentary: Drugs and the 9/11 Commission Report | Canada Prime Minister Says Marijuana Decriminalization Bill to be Reintroduced as Government Report Says Use Has Doubled | It's Official: Oregon, Montana State and Columbia, Missouri, Local Initiatives Make November Ballot | European Union Group Urges Censorship of Pro-Cannabis Web Sites, Activists Plot Counterattack | Newsbrief: Nation's Jails Stuffed With Drug Offenders, Justice Department Says | Newsbrief: Congress, Justice Department Seek Quick Hearing on Federal Sentencing Guidelines Chaos | Newsbrief: Researchers Sue DEA, NIDA for Blocking Medical Marijuana Research | Newsbrief: Schwarzenegger Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill | Newsbrief: Singapore Executes Man for Six Pounds of Marijuana | Newsbrief: China Defends Executing Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: Brazil to Start Shooting Down Drug Planes | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Job Opportunity: Internet Advertising Sales at | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]