Pubdate: Fri, 01 Jun 2007
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2007 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Author: Paul Armentano


Thank you to the Star-Bulletin for urging U.S. officials to abide by a
recent federal court ruling calling for the private production of
cannabis for FDA-approved research ("Our Opinion," May 22).

Drug Enforcement Administration law judge Mary Ellen Bittner
determined that the private manufacturing of cannabis is "in the
public interest" because there is "currently an inadequate supply of
marijuana available for research purposes." How ironic. While pot is
only a phone call away for America's teenagers, it remains out of
reach for those qualified researchers who wish to study its
therapeutic utility in clinical trials.

Meanwhile, investigators in Europe -- where the private production of
medical-grade cannabis is less restricted -- are developing various
cannabis-based drugs to treat debilitating conditions like multiple
sclerosis and chronic pain. One such drug -- a cannabis plant-based
extract known as Sativex -- is already legal by prescription in
Canada, Spain and in the United Kingdom.

It is time for the DEA and the White House to stop putting politics
above science and abide by Bittner's decision.

Paul Armentano

Senior policy analyst

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Washington, D.C. 
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