FDA Criticizes Attempts To Legalize Marijuana

Washington Post
April 21, 2006

FDA Criticizes Attempts To Legalize Marijuana

The Food and Drug Administration will publish a statement today criticizing state measures to legalize the medical use of marijuana, calling them attempts to bypass scientific review.

The agency said it was posting the statement in response to requests from lawmakers and others, but advocates for legalizing marijuana said the FDA was making an unusual and inappropriate foray into politics.

“In response to inquiries, including from Congress, we are clarifying our position on the science,” said FDA spokeswoman Susan Bro in an interview.

But Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project said he was puzzled by the FDA’s decision. “It’s fascinating that they are making what strikes me as essentially a political move here,” Mirken said.

The issue of the medical use of marijuana has been long contested on the state and federal level. Some patients with diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma say only the herb provides relief, and sometimes their doctors agree.

But the federal government maintains that FDA-approved drugs, including a synthetic form of the active ingredient in marijuana, are adequate for these patients.

Read the FDA statement on medical use of smoked marijuana.