Joined: Oct 24, 2006
Sat Sep 22, 2007 11:53 am
Washington, DC: Forty-five members of Congress signed a letter this week demanding that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) allow private sources to manufacture cannabis for FDA-approved clinical research.
The bipartisan letter, addressed to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy, urges the agency to abide by a February 2007 ruling by DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner that found that the private production of pot is "in the public interest."
Bittner’s ruling was in response to the DEA’s rejection of a 2001 application by the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst that sought permission to manufacture cannabis for FDA-approved clinical protocols.
Because Judge Bittner’s 2007 ruling is non-binding, the DEA has no deadline to act on it.
Under current policy, all federally approved research on marijuana must utilize cannabis supplied by and grown under contract with the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). By contrast, other controlled substances – including LSD, heroin, and MDMA (Ecstasy) – are available to researchers from multiple private manufacturers.
In 2004, the agency's director, Nora Volkow, stated that it is "not NIDA's mission to study the medical uses of marijuana."
NIDA’s "monopoly [is] unjustified, since federal law clearly requires adequate competition in the manufacture of Schedule I and Schedule II [controlled] substances," the Congressional letter states. "The University of Massachusetts-Amherst is one of the most distinguished research universities, and it is highly qualified to manufacture marijuana for legitimate medical and research purposes. … We urge you to accept Judge Bittner’s recommendation … so that … legitimate and privately-funded scientific research will be conducted."
Representatives John Olver (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) co-sponsored the letter. Massachusetts Senators John Kerry (D) and Edward Kennedy (D) have previously written the DEA in support of the UMass proposal.
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500 or visit http://www.maps.org. Text of the Olver/Rohrabacher letter is available online at: http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/medmarijuana/31861leg20070918.html.
Wait - what was I just talking about?