Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Uncle Sam's Marijuana Garden

(Special thanks to Don Wirtshafter for fact clarification in this article)

Since 1968, the United States Government has cultivated marijuana. Federal officials know marijuana has medical value, but they don't want the public made aware of their little secret.

The National institute on Drug Abuse (under the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services) grows marijuana at the Research Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) at Oxford, Mississippi. NIDA distributes the marijuana to seven patients with a wide array of symptoms including pain, spasms, nausea, and ocular pressure, related to Multiple Sclerosis, Glaucoma, bone tumors, and Nail Patella Syndrome. The patients receive pre-rolled cigarettes, in a container that looks like a military ration can.

The Bush Sr. administration closed the program to all new applicants in 1992, after NIDA was swamped with applications from AIDS patients seeking relief from wasting syndrome.

I believe there has been a direct effort to keep information related to the federal program from the American public. Consider the following:

1) Whenever I've called the DEA or NIDA, I've been bounced through 4-8 people before locating an official who is willing to admit the federal program exists.

2) According to the federal research protocol, participating patients are discouraged from speaking publicly about their involvement in the program (yet few of the living patients are remaining silent).

3) Reporters at mainstream news outlets across the nation (including Reuters and the Associated Press) have repeatedly claimed that under federal law, possession of marijuana is illegal for any reason. These statements are blatantly false, as the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 contains an express exemption for federal research programs. I've contacted several of these news agencies to make them aware of their error, but most of them neglected to file retractions. So much for fair, balanced and accurate.

4) Few mainstream news outlets have been willing to print stories about the federal marijuana program, or the patients who receive the marijuana, though the program is certainly newsworthy, particularly in light of many federal agencies' claims that marijuana has no medical value.

5) The federal government provides the patients with no identification paperwork to prove their legal status, so they have been repeatedly harassed by law enforcement officials. The patients must go through an arduous bureaucratic song and dance to avoid sitting in a cold jail cell without their medicine.

6) When federal patient George McMahon and I were in the process of writing the book Prescription Pot (which chronicles the federal marijuana program), we were turned away by researchers at the government-contracted farm at Ole Miss. They would not answer questions, or allow us on the property.

7) The living patients have all received medical value from marijuana, and their doctors (who are their protocol administrators) back this up. These doctors send NIDA medical paperwork regarding the patients, several times a year, but the federal bureaucrats simply discard the evidence. So much for case studies.

8) In 28 years of this "research" program's existence, the government has not produced a single clinical or empirical research study on the patients who receive the marijuana. The patients eventually sought a private source to fund their own study, because the government refused. This intensive study showed that all the patients had derived significant medical benefit from their use of marijuana.

9) Prescription Pot was almost derailed when it came to light that the Executive Administrator of the DEA was making appearances in support of another book released by the same small publisher. What are the odds?

10) Ever see a television news show about the federal program? And yet how many times have news anchors parroted the government line about "dangerous marijuana"? All of the major television news agencies are aware of the federal program, but in almost every case, they have refused to cover it. Perhaps they don't want to lose their revenue stream from Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

11) Partnership for a Drug-Free America receives funding from Bayer (the aspirin company). Bayer is helping to produce an all-natural medical marijuana spray called Sativex, currently available in Canada, and soon to be approved in the UK. However, Partnership for a Drug-Free America claims marijuana has no medical value.

Which brings me to a question. Why would Bayer produce marijuana medicine in one country, while funding propaganda claiming it has no medical value in another country? In Canada and the UK, Bayer markets marijuana medicine. But in the United States, Bayer has yet to obtain a patent. The U.S. currently allows medical cocaine and legal medical methamphetamine (marketed under the brand name Desoxyn), and yet we never hear our federal legislators lamenting the "mixed messages" we are sending to children about coke and speed, the way they do with marijuana.

I believe some of these "representatives" don't give a damn about public health. They don't care about the 75% of Americans who support legalization of medical marijuana. They don't care about their own research program. But they do care deeply about the profits of their lobbyists and campaign contributors. The disgusting truth is, they would rather throw your grandmother in prison than allow corporate profits to wane. In my humble opinion, they are corrupt. Will you join me in ensuring that Congress receives a thorough enema next year?

If anyone is still in doubt about the medical value of marijuana, perhaps you should ask one of these federal patients...


Blogger M. Simon said...

There is a war on:

The War On Unpatented Drugs


5:57 AM  

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