ACLU Calls on DEA to Allow Sale of Medical Marijuana

The ACLU has released a brief calling on the DEA to grant research permits for the production of medical cannabis.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) does not commonly take an active role in matters pertaining to the drug war, but in the case of Dr. Lyle E. Craker, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, outspoken is certainly one way to describe their position.
Craker’s name might sound familiar to keen observers of the drug war. After a decade of waging a hard-fought battle with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which repeatedly denied his application for the production of medical marijuana, he recently said he would call it quits, resigning his fight in bitter defeat.
The last DEA ruling against him came in January 2009, and contradicted the recommendation of DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner. His appeal of that decision languished for so long that last week, he and attorneys with the ACLU decided to drop the case.
“I’m disappointed in our system,” the 70-year-old professor told the Associated Press last week. “But I’m not disappointed at what we did. I think our efforts have brought the problem to the public eye more. … This is just the first battle in a war.”
On Monday evening, the ACLU released its final brief on Craker’s case, which calls on the DEA to grant research permits for the production of medical cannabis. They also flatly state that cannabis medicines have not yet cleared the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is because of the DEA’s pernicious politics and tight monopoly on the granting of production licenses.
“The federal government’s official policy is that marijuana has no medical benefit,” they noted. “But the government is unwilling to put its policy to the test of science: instead, the government exercises monopoly control over the nation’s supply of marijuana that may be used for scientific purposes, by allowing an agency whose mission is to explore the consequences of the abuse of marijuana—the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)—to determine what research may go forward regarding marijuana’s beneficial medical uses. The result is that […] marijuana alone out of all potential medicines is subject to a special and obstructive process that places politics over science.”
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