Pubdate: Wed, 24 Nov 2010
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Copyright: 2010 East Bay Express
Author: Stephen Morseman


Re: "Why Legalization Failed,' Legalization Nation, 11/10

Proposition 19's failure at the polls demonstrates that although 
Californians have accepted the medicinal use of marijuana, they are 
not ready to accept recreational use. This makes it that much more 
important to facilitate research into the benefits and harms of 
marijuana in order to properly assess the utility of cannabis. At 
present, researchers have to contend with a monopoly over the 
marijuana supply held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse whose 
mission is to study the harmful effects of illicit drugs. This 
disqualifies them as objective judges as to who to provide marijuana 
to for FDA approved studies.

To clarify the efficacy of our existing medical marijuana law, 
Californians need to strengthen their understanding of how to 
effectively utilize marijuana medicinally. We can facilitate research 
through breaking NIDA's monopoly over the marijuana supply for FDA 
studies by putting pressure on the DEA to issue a license to 
cultivate marijuana to Dr. Lyle Craker at UMASS Amherst. To give our 
representatives the courage to push for expanding marijuana research, 
they can look to DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, who 
found that it would be in the public interest to issue Dr. Craker a 
license to cultivate cannabis. Acting DEA Administrator Michelle 
Leonhart rejected this recommendation shortly after Obama took 
office. It's time we ask why she chose to uphold an obstructive 
federal monopoly in order to bring this issue from the political to 
the scientific sphere.

Stephen Morseman, San Leandro
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