Drug Czar's Website Still Wrong About AMA's Medical Marijuana Stance

Unfortunately, the DEA isn’t the only drug war apparatus that's dragging its heels when it comes to acknowledging the American Medical Association's new position on medical marijuana. The drug czar's website still offers a document entitled "What Every American Should Know About Medical Marijuana," (PDF) which includes this passage:

Major public health organizations do not support smoking marijuana as medicine.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology all oppose the smoked form of marijuana as medicine...

So, if the drug czar thinks "every American should know" about AMA's position on medical marijuana, will he now inform Americans that the position has changed? Somehow I doubt it, but at the very least, this now-false claim that AMA opposes medical marijuana should be removed immediately.

Let me be clear about this too, because I don’t want anyone thinking this is just some smug campaign to rub AMA's new position in the face of drug warriors all over the web. This document, "What Every American Should Know About Medical Marijuana," is a dreadful Bush-era hatefest that positively drips with outrageous & out-of-context propaganda points and should have been tossed from the site back in January, along with all the other rancid garbage John Walters left in the fridge at ONDCP.

This document even contains the unbelievable Steve Kubby smear, in which Kubby's statements about Marinol saving his life in prison were spun as opposition to medical marijuana (I highly recommend revisiting that one if you don’t remember it, because it's so much worse than I can even describe in one sentence). And this isn't some dusty artifact I dug up from the cavernous bowels of ONDCP.gov either, it is currently the #1 search result for "medical marijuana" on the drug czar's website.* 

So please join me in sending the drug czar a note asking that this outdated and offensive document be removed from his site once and for all. Whether it's because the reference to AMA is no longer accurate, or because the rest of the thing in its entirety is just a raging trainwreck of distortion and nastiness, or because the new administration has pledged to respect state medical marijuana laws instead of vilifying doctors and patients, this type of rhetoric has no place in the drug policy debate.

Please contact the drug czar today to ask that the document "What Every American Should Know About Medical Marijuana" be permanently removed from ONDCP.gov. Thanks.

*Update: Interestingly, the document is now much more difficult to find on the ONDCP website. Last night, it came up #1 in a search for "medical marijuana." Now I can only locate it by using more specific search terms. Hopefully, this signals that it's in the process of being removed, although the PDF is currently still being hosted by ONDCP.

Update 2: Our friends at LEAP have created an action alert where you can send a pre-written message to DEA & ONDCP requesting the necessary corrections.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Letter to the ONDCP sent.

I wrote and asked for removal, with a rebuttal of all 10 points. I invite all of you reading this to do the same. Remember, the ONDCP works for you. As a citizen you pay their wages with your tax dollars. They are obligated to read what you write. It only takes a few minutes (you don't have rebut it all) just a few polite words will do.

The powers that be never talk about eating marijuana

The AMA says they are against "smoking" marijuana. And probably still are. Very cheeky to side-track people against ingesting the substance some other way, like suppository.--- O.K. maybe our culture isn't ready for a hash suppository just yet. Although coffee enemas were in vogue for a while with the jet set back in the seventies. I think Steve Mcqueen had one in the hopes of treating his cancer. (Where did that fad go?) But my point is that they could talk about vaporizers and brownies but they never do. Because their position would collapse. "They" being those who profit from the industrial-prison-complex directly or indirectly.

Fix your font

Hey, fix your font! Too small and wrong font-family :)


Serif for headlines, sans-serif for text.

borden's picture

Thanks for the suggestions.

Thanks for the suggestions. I've passed them along to our web developer, who is preparing to do a partial redesign along with some other work. I don't know what we'll decide, but we will definitely give consideration to the possibility of changing the fonts -- perhaps even to serif and san-serif.

- Dave

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

You R All Wrong!

stop stop stop! the DEA is still right! marijuana,is not approved for medician .they have safer drugs that u can get pesicribed legally!!!your AMA is just now making up bullshit 2 fit in with the "hip" group .so please dont believe yalls rethoric lies about marijuana being a safe medician.i hope that one guys amendiment passes SO YALL WILL SHUT UP. it will be a great and huge victory in the warondrugs to make it illegal for u 2 talk about legallizing or decrimializing any of the drug laws the dea makes THEY JUST WANT TO KEEP THE KIDS SAFE

hahaha obvious troll is

hahaha obvious troll is obvious

keep kids safe?

Is that what you call it when Jr high school kids get cannabis easier than they can cigarettes?! Keep up, with the same way of fighting the drug war, and you are handing these kids to the drug dealers on a silver platter. You know? Dealers don't card! And even though one dealer is caught, there are ten more willing to replace him! It is going to take some thinking out of the box to protect the kids. It certainly is not happening with the current situation. But, I don't have any young kids, so it is not a problem for me! ?

And let me get this straight. You are for letting the kids have the great access to drugs, the way it is now. Or, you do not favor regulation to keep the drugs out of the hands of kids? Regulation works pretty good with alcohol and cigarettes. Why don't you like kids?

Angry mom

If your post is not sarcasm, then you are completely ignorant and unamerican, too. The federal government's enumerated powers do not allow it to tell us what we may or may not ingest. And it absolutely does not have the Constitutional power to tell us to shut up about the unconstitutional drug war. How can you call yourself an American and support a law that violates ANY of our unalienable rights (of which self ownership is one and the freedom to speak our minds another)?

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

A post over at The Agitator got me thinking

This is my comment on that article/link:
"I just want to know why no person arrested for the use of ANY drug has ever used the argument that such arrest (and all that follows arrest) violates his/her unalienable right to self ownership. Seems pretty obvious to me — my body, my choice; and use of any drug violates no one else’s unalienable rights."
Elaborating on that comment:
A couple of wins using that argument and drugs are effectively decriminalized -- no arrests, no convictions, no fines, no jail terms, no forced rehab. Then all that would be needed is to repeal the laws against cultivation/manufacturing and distribution.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!


A similar argument could be used for prostitution -- it's a consensual act by both the prostitute and his/her client so again, no violation of anyone else's unalienable rights.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!


The hell they do. If they were really concerned about keeping the kids safe, they would have no problems at all giving up their own alcohol use as part of the war on drugs, to set the right example for kids. They don't have the slightest intention of doing that, so their 'concern' about adult cannabis use impacting on kids is nothing but the most obvious crocodile tears. Their message to kids and to adult cannabis users is do as we say, not as we do. But Americans don't accept being ordered around by such wild hypocrites

borden's picture

I deleted a really nutso

I deleted a really nutso post by "Angry Mom." If "Angry Mom" is a real person expressing views -- and not just a troll trying to stoke up trouble -- then she will be welcome to come back and make points in a reasoned way.

David Borden, Executive Directo
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC


If she's NOT a troll, I really would like an answer to my question of how she could be an American with a child (or children) and still support such unAmerican policies. If there was any kind of answer to that in the post you deleted, perhaps you could email it to me? I just have such a hard time understanding how anyone raised and educated in America can possibly support policies which so totally conflict with our Constitution.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

borden's picture



I didn't save a copy of the post, but I did look through it before deleting it, and I didn't see a coherent answer to any question about anything. She just thinks that people who advocate legalization are "terrorists."

If she posts anything again, I'll save a copy to email you -- unless she actually posts something coherent and generative of reasoned discussion, in which case we'll gladly leave it on the site for anyone to read.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Thank you.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Walking experiment

This is my first time on this blog, and I have this to say: I have been a very frequent user of MJ for over 40 years. In that time, I have gone to college, graduated with honors, earned an advanced degree, am a successful business person, have been in love with the same woman for over 22 years, raised two wonderful children and live a very active life. I've given up worrying about the side affects of my MJ use. Where are they! The arguments to keep MJ illegal are just rediculous.

Read the AMA's actual statement

Sadly, it looks like stopthedrugwar.org totally missed the mark on this one. If you actually go back and read the AMA's release, they asked for a review of the scheduling for marijuana to promote more research. In no way did it endorse the use of marijuana, it did not say that there was medicinal value in marijuana consumption, nor did it say that it should be more availability to the general public. In fact, all that the AMA delegates asked for was a relaxation in access to the product for medical research. The delegates went further to state that their request "should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug."

Yes, even the AMA agrees that there is no scientific evidence of a therapeutic value in marijuana.

borden's picture



Yes, the statement does say there is medicinal value in marijuana consumption, for at least some conditions.

The report that accompanied the statement says that rescheduling "can be supported" under certain circumstances.

They called for the research route. Previously they said leave it in schedule I. Now they're saying review that but hold off until that review is done. It's a cautious statement, sure. But they're the AMA. What do you expect? For an organization like that, this is a big shift, and it's a shift that points to bigger ones. And that's what our post says.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Quote the quote


I regret that your source may be questionable or that we may be stuck on semantics. The statement does not say that there is medicinal value in marijuana consumption, rather it says that there may medicinal value in the use of cannabinols if they did additional research. Cannabinols and marijuana are vastly different. One is an isolated substance while the other is a plant containing scores of other chemicals.

If you have a specific quote, source, and citation, I would appreciate the posting.

As a research body, it is to their benefit to ask for additional access to substances they wish to test. Their request should not be taken as an endorsement of use. Tying the two together is simply without merit.

As to the sponsorship and source of the initial resolution comes from the Medical Student Section and practicing medical marijuana advocates. This is akin to the fox petitioning the farmer to lower the chicken coop fence so he can study feather pillow technologies.

Simply because a seat within the AMA recommends additional Cannabinol research does not equate to the body's endorsement of planning marijuana gardens in hospital sanctuaries.

Medicinally, heroin and morphine have been found more beneficial than supposed cannabinol responses. I do not see the body endorsing poppy gardens.

borden's picture

From the enacted

From the enacted resolution:

"Our AMA calls for further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients who have serious conditions for which preclinical, anecdotal, or controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy and the application of such results to the understanding and treatment of disease."

Again: "marijuana and related cannabinoids". If it were only referring to the isolated cannabinoids, it would not have said "marijuana AND" cannabinoids. It would have just said "cannabinoids" or "cannabinoids derived from marijuana or somthing like that. They deliberately included marijuana itself, as well as cannabinoids.

Then they wrote "evidence suggests possible efficacy" as the trigger for what research should be done. They would not have passed a statement calling for research into a substance that appears to be efficacious, if the opinion were that evidence does not exist for its efficaciousness. No, useless research does not benefit the medical profession, not when time and money could be spent on useful research.

As for poppy gardens, where do you think the morphine comes from? It comes from poppies, which have to grow somewhere. Whether opium also has medicinal qualities is its own question. I don't know the answer, but generally the question of what is "more effective" or "better" depends on the individual patient -- this idea that "other medicines worl better" is a total fallacy -- that's not how individualized medical care works, and that's not the expected standard for approval of any other medicine by either the medical field or the government.

This is not about semantics. The resolution reasonably read clearly seeks to move legal medical marijuana availability forward, in a cautious, medical establishment sort of way.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

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