MMJ Advocates Slam ‘Politicized’ FDA Report

  MMJ Advocates Slam ‘Politicized’ FDA Report

Posted by CN Staff on April 24, 2006 at 09:29:27 PT
By Michelle Chen 
Source: NewStandard  

New York -- Clashing with drug-policy reform groups and a growing body of scientific research, the federal government has stepped up its effort to invalidate marijuana as medicine. The Food and Drug Administration issued a statement last Thursday asserting that smoked marijuana has no proven medical benefits. The assessment sparked criticism from both the scientific community and activists pushing for changes in drug laws, who say it exposes the White House’s effort to spin science in order to push its agenda of criminalizing drug use.
The statement concluded that based on existing research, "no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States." The agency further argued that laws permitting marijuana use as a medical treatment "are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA approval process."Reform groups call the declaration a thinly veiled attempt to preempt both state and federal initiatives to de-criminalize the use of medical marijuana to relieve symptoms related to glaucoma, cancer and other illnesses. Bruce Mirken, director of communications with the reform group Marijuana Policy Project, told The NewStandard that the FDA’s position is "the final proof, if anybody still needed it, that the FDA has become completely politicized, that they’re doing politics instead of science. And that, frankly, should frighten everybody, whatever your feelings about medical marijuana."Organizations advocating for drug-policy reform have railed on the government for ignoring a wealth of clinical studies demonstrating the positive impacts of the drug. In a 1999 report, the federal Institute of Medicine recommended further research on risks and benefits of smoked marijuana, but concluded overall, "Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation," particularly for AIDS and chemotherapy patients.The FDA’s opinion folds into an intensifying discussion in Congress over the potential benefits of medical marijuana and the costs of trying to control the drug. Representative Mark Souder (R-Indiana) has led the push for tightening federal restrictions on medical marijuana through stringent FDA regulation. "Denying the federal government the power to set and enforce uniform standards would simply open up an alternative route for illegal drug trafficking and abuse," he said in a statement following a Supreme Court ruling last June that permitted federal crackdowns on medical marijuana.But a spate of recent raids on medical-marijuana distribution centers has also sparked resistance from lawmakers and the public. In each legislative session since 1997, Representative Barney Frank (R-New York) has introduced the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act, which would relax the ban on marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act and bar federal penalties on patients or medical professionals involved in the administration of medical marijuana. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-New York) plans to reintroduce later this year an amendment to House appropriations legislation that would prevent the spending of federal dollars to prosecute medical-marijuana use.Currently, state laws allow the cultivation and use of medical marijuana in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. In total, about 35 states have at some point enacted supportive legislation, including laws authorizing clinical research, or expressing support for medical marijuana without actually shielding patients from arrest. In 2005, a two-fold Supreme Court ruling established states’ prerogative to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, but also reaffirmed federal authority to prosecute sick people who use marijuana treatment in states that allow it. In recent years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has led over 20 raids of medical-marijuana distribution centers in California and other states, according to a December 2005 Congressional Research Service report.Critics say that in its efforts to criminalize marijuana despite evidence of its therapeutic benefits, the government has even resorted to stonewalling further scientific investigation of the drug’s safety and effectiveness. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an organization that supports research on marijuana and similar drugs used for medical or spiritual purposes, has spent several years in a bureaucratic battle – and now a lawsuit – over the licensing of a proposed growing facility at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. The organization argues that federal regulators have since 2001 "unreasonably delayed" the review procedure for the project, which is intended to supply researchers with high-potency marijuana.Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement on Friday, "It is shameful to see the FDA talking out of both sides of its mouth on this issue by declaring there is no sound research on the medical benefits of medical marijuana, but at the same time, denying researchers the opportunity to study the efficacy of cannabis."Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project commented that in the broader debate over drug-policy reform, the FDA’s statement strikes at a particularly vulnerable population swept up in the drug war. "From our point of view," he said, "as long as we have a ‘war on drugs,’ can we please at least remove the sick and wounded from the battlefield?"Complete Title: Medical Marijuana Advocates Slam ‘Politicized’ FDA ReportSource: NewStandard (NY)Author: Michelle ChenPublished: April 24, 2006Copyright: 2006 The NewStandardContact: ed-letters Website: Articles & Web Site: IOM Report Loses Credibility With Jab at Medical Pot's Credibility Goes Up In Smoke on Medical Pot

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help

Comment #13 posted by Hope on April 25, 2006 at 20:55:28 PT
One o' them "Nutshell things"...Aye, Kap.
"Cronyism, politicization of science, collusion between 'good ol' boys' to create a monoploy for their friends in Big Pharma while keeping home-grown meds illegal, so as to keep the largely cannabis-prohibition-powered DrugWarriors in a paycheck and using the Feds to do so?"
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by Max Flowers on April 25, 2006 at 10:57:09 PT
Problem is, the same media that you are pleading with to open their eyes and understand, are owned and operated at the behest of some of those same corporate interests! Or at the very least, the media-owning corporate entities are in harmony and sympathy with those same interests.When you think about the kinds of people in charge of both camps (media and government, especially Republicans), you see that they are in harmony. The media bosses would upset their government pals way too much if they were to report on these things they way we know they should. I have also long assumed that there is a very significant element of coersion involved as well, with regard to information-withholding. That is, that the media bosses know their government pals all too well and know that if they (media corporation) piss them off by exposing them in a story, the government pals will begin to shut them out on big stories, causing the media company's ratings and corporate worth to fall. Advertisers will begin to perceive that company as less than well-connected, and will think of taking their advertising elsewhere---the worst fate of all, the plague of death to a media company. So the media company decides to toe the line and serve their bottom line, their corporate net worth, instead of the people whom they are purportedly serving (who, evidently, can be spoon-fed garbage and kept in the dark).If we could only break the bonds of these unholy alliances that are pulling our country down into a hole. Legislation? What is the answer? As I see it, there is a cricle of corruption and impropriety:Media should not be in bed with governmentGovernment should not be in bed with religionReligion should not be in bed with big businessBig business should not be in bed with medicineMedicine should not be in bed with media (think TV commercials for pharmaceuticals), government and big business, yet it is on all counts.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on April 25, 2006 at 09:50:55 PT:
The media STILL keeps missing the target
An absolutely HUGE, RED, DRIPPING chunk of scandalous meat regarding 'conflicts of interest' combined with out-of-control politicization of science (which I have been properly labeling as Lysenkoism for years, here) is dangling directly in front of the media and they still can't see it, smell it, or hear the drops of blood hit the floor.One word, media wonks: SATIVEX. I posted this in another forum, and a few people are catching on, so at the risk of seeming pedantic, I'll post it here:I would like to point something out which a great many people here have missed: the FDA's emphasis on 'smoked marijuana'. Because, by implication, they have made a distinction as to the kinds of marijuana in existence. IMHO, this is of inestimable importance, as I'll explain:Some of you may recall that until fairly recently, ALL marijuana in ANY form was verboten for medical use. So what's changed? Now it's only 'smoked marijuana' that's the boogeyman. Implying that other forms are acceptable.What other forms? Why, the one Big Pharma produces, of course.As with most things, there was a turning point. That turning point began with the development of Sativex by GW Pharmaceuticals, a lliquid marijuana tincture that has been accepted in Canada and is being tested here in the US, by the FDA. What's noticeable about this matter is that the former DrugCzarina, "Dr'" Andrea Barthwell, who made a lot of money as a *cough* civil servant *cough* railing against marijuana in any form, as soon as she quit her 'Gub'mint' service job, signed on to the Board of Directors of the company that makes Sativex. At that point, the phrasing began to change; it was no longer a blanket condemnation of marijuana, only 'smoked marijuana' that was proscribed.It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to see where this is going. A former Fed DrugWarrior, who made her bones pontificating against all cannabis, when she takes an even more lucrative position in a company that makes liquid marijuana, suddenly changes her tune to reflect the interests of her new paymaster...or as the old saying goes, "Whose bread I eat, his song I sing". And anyone who doesn't believe that there's collusion between the FDA, the DEA, and GW Pharma is forgetting the linch-pin of Dear Andrea; it is inconceivable that she is not acting as a go-between by using her contacts in both agencies for her company's advantage.Yes, this was politcal. But politics is fueled by money...and there's lots of money to be made with cannabinoids. The problem of course is that for GWP to recoup all the costs of research, they will have to be granted a patent. An exclusive one. And that patent will have to be recognized by the Feds. In Canada, GWP has already legally threatened makers of a home-grown tonic used in their compassion clubs as being somehow a patent infringement. the linked article: Last May, Lucas received a foretaste of possible legal battles to come with GW, Bayer AG, and its subsidiary Bayer Canada, when he described Cannamist at a medical marijuana conference held by a group called Patients Out of Time, at the University of Virginia. Geoffrey Guy happened to be in the audience, and afterward approached Lucas and asked him if he'd had a chance to look at the any of the many patent applications GW has for Sativex. "He said it with a twinkle in his eye," recalls Lucas, "but with firmness in his voice."There is no question that GW plans to enforce its patents on Sativex, which is a precisely dosed medicine. Warns Guy: "To protect our extensive investment, we have sought to identify and patent certain inventions throughout the growing, extraction and manufacturing process. My comments to Mr. Lucas were made as a friendly and, hopefully, helpful gesture as I did not wish him to invest a great amount of effort into obtaining approval for a product as a prescription medicine only to find that he did not have the freedom to operate in the first place."Guy's warning was reiterated shortly after I arrived in England to interview him, when Mark Rogerson, GW's grey-templed, elegantly dressed, public-relations man, met me at the Oxford train station. "Once it's approved and Sativex becomes a medicine under the law, there needs to be a minor change in legislation so it can be prescribed," he said, as he steered his Hyundai (his Audi was in the shop) into near-gridlock."The Home Office has already said they will do that, and then patients will be taking a legal medicine. But if you are an MS sufferer, it would still be illegal for you to grow cannabis at the bottom of the garden to treat your symptoms. Our medicine will be legal, but anything else will not be."Straight from the horses mouth, friends. Big Pharma looks to sew up the market tight, using government as a club over the heads of people who want to grow their own and not buy their pricey pharmas.The laughableness of the idea of patenting something that's been used for thousands of years in many cultures becomes obvious...but these wonks will try anything to see what they can get away with.So...the Feds create a monopoly by granting GWP exclusive rights to make the only legal liquid marijuana in the country, keeping all other forms of it illegal to protect GWP. The Feds still get to attack patients who prefer to grow their own meds. The DrugWar continues to trundle merrily along, wreaking lives in it's wake as our tax dollars continue to fund its' wretched progress. And people like Andrea Barthwell, who lied about cannabis having zero, nichivo, nein, zilch, goose egg value medicinally. now will lie and say that only her company's marijuana is medically efficacious. How brass-balls blatant can it possibly get?Media wonks, can you get it now? Does this sound familiar? Cronyism, politicization of science, collusion between 'good ol' boys' to create a monoploy for their friends in Big Pharma while keeping home-grown meds illegal, so as to keep the largely cannabis-prohibition-powered DrugWarriors in a paycheck and using the Feds to do so? Jeez-Louise! If the media actually had to hunt for their food, they would have starved years ago... 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 25, 2006 at 07:26:25 PT
Thanks for the link but I don't read that site. I am not anywhere near a Libertarian or a Republican. This is the kind of review I enjoy reading.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by Sukoi on April 25, 2006 at 03:48:37 PT
More on Neil Young
I ran across this during my morning reading:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 24, 2006 at 21:41:28 PT
You seemed to see it like I did too. I don't understand right and left thinking. Neil Young is the music guest on Conan tonight. It is a repeat and he sings a song from Prairie Wind. I have a feeling when we go to see CSNY's Freedom of Speech Tour there will be hecklers like we had a Greendale but probably at lot more aggressive. I have no doubt that it will be an experience I will never forget.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 24, 2006 at 20:33:59 PT
Basically and sort of dehydrated version
of what seemed to be a bit too long winded an article for my taste at the moment. ...He doesn't think people will really be affected by the wise words of the singer and he doesn't think Neil sings as good as he used to. He thinks we have to endure the Bush administration until he runs his full term through.Ok. That's what he thinks.He's not likely to cause any dent in music sales.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 24, 2006 at 18:06:53 PT
Music is in my heart and that article sounded political and it didn't register. I go from I love this new album and I haven't even heard it yet to someone trying to put Neil in a political box but no one can. He is a Canadian. He is for issues. Neil is motivated by a social conscience not a political reason.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by whig on April 24, 2006 at 17:58:04 PT
I think Brian Doherty doesn't have a clue about music.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 24, 2006 at 15:58:59 PT
Thank you for the articles. I don't understand the one on Reason though. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Sukoi on April 24, 2006 at 15:48:58 PT
Check this out...
Take a look at this, the FDA is being sued:,0,5604733.story?coll=ny-business-leadheadlines I wonder when they will have to answer the question about how they came to the conclusion that cannabis is not "safe and effective"?FoM, here's an article about Neil Young that I ran across: 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on April 24, 2006 at 14:16:53 PT
It's Time To Go After the FDA
Does anyone smell ONDCP? The FDA has opened the door with this declaration, all we have to do is walk through it and demand information about their practices. That should be iteresting.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by Graehstone on April 24, 2006 at 10:49:12 PT

Can we sue?
If this proves that the FDA was "bought" or "silenced" by the Gov't and that everything they say or have ever said can now be held to question, doesn't that mean that they have put our lives at risk with all of their other drugs when they were playing politics?
I understand that is what has been happening for many years if not forever, but wouldn't this hold it up to the light a bit more for Joe Citizen to see more clearly?
Can't we sue the FDA for risking our lives? I know I'm dreaming here but enough is enough... just frustrated is all.
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment