Serious Public Policy Risks Born From Limited Medical, Public health, and Pharmaceutical Research Into Cannabis And Its Use
Ending the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana research -The federal government is interfering with research into medical marijuana, claims a report by Brookings Institute.
In “Ending the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana research,” authors John Hudak and Grace Wallack argue that it is time for the federal government to recognize the serious public policy risks born from limited medical, public health, and pharmaceutical research into cannabis and its use. As medical marijuana becomes increasingly accessible in state-regulated, legal markets, and as others self-medicate in jurisdictions that do not allow the medical use of cannabis, it is increasingly important that the scientific community conduct research on this substance. However, statutory, regulatory, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers have paralyzed science and threatened the integrity of research freedom in this area.
The report’s authors, John Hudak and Grace Wallack, say the debate is not really about marijuana at all. Rather, it is about scientific freedom, and improving public health.
Right now, the Food and Drug Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, with “no medically accepted use.”
Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation said the agencies that control research into marijuana also oversee federal prohibition of marijuana, so are naturally inclined to stymie research.
These bureaucratic policies are not only unscientific, they lack common sense. – Paul Armentano
The lack of federal support makes universities leery of compromising their reputations by studying medical marijuana, the report says.
Scientists need comprehensive reforms to put an end to the federal monopoly on legal marijuana production.
There is a bipartisan bill wending its way through Congress right now. The bipartisan CARERS act would end federal prohibition of marijuana, and allow each state to craft its own policies on medical marijuana.
Mr Armentano was not optimistic.
There was already ample scientific evidence that cannabis had medical utility, but that “science has never driven marijuana policy. If it did, the United States would already have a very different policy in place.” – Paul Armentano
Dan Riffle, who handles federal lobbying at the Marijuana Policy Project went a step further. “Marijuana, like alcohol, is a drug that is used primarily by adults in social settings, and like alcohol, should be removed from the list of controlled substances altogether and regulated as such,” he said.
Riffle praised the CARERS Act, but points out it would have to get past the “old-school drug warriors” of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.