ONDCP and DEA Officials Grilled on MAPS/Craker Case at Hearing on DEAs Regulation of Medicine

On July 12, in the new Congress’s first oversight hearing on the federal government’s role regarding medical marijuana, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) grilled officials from ONDCP and DEA on their role in obstructing Prof. Lyle Craker’s MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility. Rep. Nadler asked a series of pointed questions about NIDA’s unique monopoly on the supply of marijuana for FDA trials, Judge Bittner’s recent ruling in favor of MAPS and Prof Craker, and the DEA’s timeline for issuing a decision on whether to accept or reject Judge Bittner’s “Recommended Ruling.”

First, Nadler asked Rannazzisi why marijuana is the only Schedule One drug for which the federal government has a monopoly on supply. Rannazzisi cited international treaty obligations, a line of reasoning already disproved in court. Then, Nadler asked if the DEA would make a decision on Judge Bittner’s ruling in favor of Prof. Craker by the end of Bush’s term. When Rannazzisi couldn’t answer, Nadler asked how long the DEA normally takes to process a recommendation from an administrative law judge. Rannazzisi said it varies from case to case, but Nadler wasn’t satisfied, and continued the line of questioning by asking whether it takes closer to one year, two years, or five years. Rannazzisi asked to answer in writing following the hearing. Nadler insisted that he wanted a commitment that the decision would be made on Prof. Craker’s application before the end of Bush’s term in January, 2009.

To read the written transcript of this oversight hearing in HTML click here (html), or to read as a PDF click here (pdf).

DEA and NIDA’s obstruction of medical marijuana research is becoming increasingly difficult for those agencies to hide from politicians — and from the public, as evidenced by the increased media scrutiny of DEA’s obstruction of MAPS and Prof. Craker:

“Scientists Stir the Pot for Right to Grow Marijuana”

The Economist editorial in support of Prof. Craker:
“Joint Action: A Victory for American cannabis researchers”

Los Angeles Times editorial in support of Prof. Craker:
“Ending the Marijuana Monopoly”

Associated Press (As published in the Boston Globe)
“UMass professor seeks to grow medical marijuana”

Washington Post (Also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle)
“Researchers Press DEA to Let Them Grow Marijuana”

New York Times (online edition)
“Marijuana Researchers Make Progress in the Lab, but not in Washington”

Honolulu Star Bulletin
“Editorial: Medical Marijuana Research Should Not Be Hampered”