Pubdate: Sat, 28 May 2005
Source: Virginia Gazette, The (Williamsburg, VA)
Copyright: 2005 The Virginia Gazette
Author: Charles M. Darlington
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Sativex)


I am quite sure that Gazette reporter Rusty Carter was unaware that Dr. 
Andrea Barthwell ("Drug forum draws national interest," May 25 Gazette) has 
been hired by a British company called GW Pharmaceuticals that is 
attempting to market a liquid version of marijuana called Sativex. It is 
indistinguishable from the crude drug, having all its components but 
recombined in liquid form.

Dr. Barthwell earned a considerable amount of taxpayer money as deputy 
director of the Organization for National Drug Control Policy, railing 
against exactly the same drug. Now, instead of claiming that marijuana has 
absolutely no medicinal properties, she now states that only Sativex has 
medicinal properties, and the "crude drug" does not.

The self-serving hypocrisy of this statement becomes glaringly obvious, and 
I am not surprised that she did not mention this.

As to her "defeating an Illinois bill to legalize marijuana," the bill's 
purpose was to eliminate criminal penalties for those who were so ill that 
marijuana was their only relief. Cannabis (the proper name) would have 
remained illegal for the public-at-large. The bill would have required a 
doctor's approval and the process subject to local regulation. Dr. 
Barthwell was invited to debate with the legislator who had proposed the 
bill. She declined.

Such contempt for the democratic process by one who was sworn to uphold it 
is indicative of Dr. Barthwell's approach to matters of public interest. 
She had, in her tenure as deputy drug czar, consistently refused to debate 
the merits of drug law reform, preferring to snipe instead from the 
agency's ivory tower's battlements. She hasn't changed her modus operandi 
since leaving public service.

It should be of interest that nearly every person who has held high 
positions within the federal anti-drug apparatus (such as Robert DuPont, 
Barry McCaffery, etc.) has, while in office, promoted drug testing (despite 
studies which have shown it provides no "magic bullet" to prevent use) and 
then, after leaving office, have taken positions with drug-testing companies.

Dr. Barthwell has dutifully followed in the footsteps of her predecessors. 
This is a classic example of the "revolving door" and "double dipping" if 
ever there was one.

When shorn of the glowing rhetoric of saving the children, Dr. Barthwell is 
just another self-seeking opportunist who is well aware of the futility of 
attempting to control illicit drugs in this country using the punitive 
approach. She is cynically using the system to reward herself financially. 
Her latest efforts are just a continuation of past behaviors.

Charles M. Darlington

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