Congress and Professor Craker Respond to Bush Administration and DEA’s Obstruction of Scientific Freedom

On January 30, 2009, lawyers for Professor Lyle Craker filed a motion of reconsideration in response to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) final ruling, which was the Bush Administration’s parting blow to medical marijuana research. Professor Craker rebutted DEA’s final order with the support of MAPS and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on grounds that new evidence was introduced in the final ruling that was not included during testimony in the case.

On February 6, 2009, 16 members of the United States Congress sent a letter to new Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to have DEA “amend or withdrawal the Final Order in this matter to permit President Obama’s new Deputy Attorney General and DEA appointees to review Prof. Craker’s merits, once they are in office.” This letter was orchestrated by our sister organization Americans for Safe Access (ASA), who also distributed a press release. The 16 signatories are Representatives John Olver, Maurice Hinchey, Ron Paul, Tammy Baldwin, Raul Grijalva, Sam Farr, Robert Wexler, Ed Pastor, Neil Abercrombie, Gary Ackerman, Lynn Woolsey, William Delahunt, Barney Frank, Zoe Lofgren, Michael Capuano, and Dennis Kucinich.

The motion of reconsideration and Congressional letter are responses to the Bush Administration’s last-minute obstruction of legitimate science on January 14th, when DEA filed in the Federal Register its final ruling refusing to end the government monopoly over the supply of marijuana available for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-sanctioned research. DEA’s final ruling rejected the nearly 2-year-old recommendation of DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner. Her February 12, 2007, recommendation stated that it would be in the public interest to end the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) monopoly on the supply of marijuana for legitimate scientific research. The DEA’s contradictory ruling continues its policy since 1970 of forcing the controversy over the medical use of marijuana to be resolved through political struggles rather than scientific research. NIDA’s monopoly fundamentally obstructs MAPS’ research aimed at developing smoked or vaporized marijuana into a prescription medicine.

MAPS is hopeful that the Obama Administration will honor its commitment to science over ideology. The Obama administration should support MAPS’ efforts to sponsor research aimed at gathering evidence about marijuana to present to FDA, and should stop DEA’s and NIDA’s obstruction of our attempts to transform marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine.

There are several media articles about DEA’s ruling on the MAPS in the media page.