Medical Marijuana Research Update: September 2006

It has now been four months since lawyers representing MAPS and DEA filed final legal briefs in Prof. Lyle Craker’s lawsuit against the DEA for refusing to license a proposed MAPS-sponsored marijuana production facility at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. MAPS and medical marijuana reform advocates nationwide are eagerly awaiting a recommendation from DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner within the next two months.

In the meantime, we are focusing our attention on preparing to pressure the DEA to accept Judge Bittner’s recommendation if she actually recommends that the DEA should issue a Schedule I license to Prof. Craker. Towards this end, MAPS is working with David Ostrow, M.D., who is funded by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), to lobby the American Medical Association (AMA) to pass a two-fold resolution at this November’s annual meeting. The first part of the resolution says that privately-funded, FDA-approved research into marijuana’s potential therapeutic uses should be encouraged, and that privately-funded production facilities that meet all regulatory requirements should be licensed by DEA to produce pharmaceutical-grade marijuana for use exclusively in FDA- and DEA-approved research. The second part of the resolution says that in states where patients are permitted to use medical marijuana for serious and/or chronic illnesses and the patient’s physician has recommended its use in accordance with that state’s medical practice standards, that patients should not be subject to federal criminal penalties for such appropriate medical use.