DEA vetoes research

The Drug Enforcement Administration has vetoed a decision by Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner, stopping a University of Massachusetts Amherst medical marijuana research project. The Medical Marijuana Project, a drug war reform group, said the research was “vital if marijuana is ever to be an FDA-approved medicine.”

Medical marijuana is legal under Nevada state law, and the drug has been decriminalized as part of an effort by state lawmakers to encourage marijuana research. Previously, simple possession of any amount of marijuana was a felony in Nevada, but voter approval of medical marijuana helped change the stance of lawmakers.

Under the state law, the Nevada School of Medicine was directed to seek DEA approval of marijuana research.

The DEA, never in love with research, has also been edgy with its administrative law judges since 1988 when AL Judge Francis Young ruled after lengthy hearings and research that “the record on marijuana encompasses 5,000 years of human experience. … [D]espite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death. … In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”