February 2010 Updates

* Read the February 2010 MAPS Email Newsletter in the MAPS email news archive *

Journal of the American Botanical Council published an article that details the DEA’s obstruction of medical marijuana research and it’s refusal to license Prof. Lyle Craker to start a MAPS-funded marijuana production facility

The article, “The state of clinical cannabis research in the United States,” appeared in HerbalGram, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Botanical Council. Author Lindsay Stafford describes in detail how the DEA and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) have obstructed medical marijuana research and the proposed MAPS-sponsored marijuana production facility at UMass Amherst. The author concludes that lengthy delays by the DEA “highlight the significance of the state-level medical marijuana movement … While more people are able to obtain marijuana for treatment under some state laws, little research is being done to document the efficacy and safety of cannabis as a medicine.” This article appeared less than a month after a similar article appeared in the New York Times.

Obama nominates medical marijuana obstructionist Michelle Leonhart to become Administrator of the DEA

Sadly, President Obama has nominated Michelle Leonhart, Acting Deputy Administrator of the DEA, to become the permanent Administrator.  This is a deep disappointment to MAPS and our allies in the medical marijuana movement. President Bush originally appointed Leonhart. She signed the Final Order that rejected the DEA Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) recommended ruling that it would be in the public’s interest for Professor Lyle Craker to be licensed to grow marijuana at a MAPS-sponsored facility at UMass Amherst. Leonhart’s rejection of the recommended ruling shows that she is more concerned with enforcing punitive prohibitionist policies than supporting scientific research into the safety and efficacy of marijuana as a medicine. This is contrary to Obama’s stance on science over politics. MAPS is working with the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Safe Access, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy to try to find Senators on the Judiciary committee that reviews Leonhart’s appointment to question her about medical marijuana issues. We are hopeful that such a line of questioning will influence her to reverse her current obstructionist approach to medical marijuana. If the DEA does not license Craker in a timely fashion, MAPS will be forced to sue the DEA in the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals. This is a last resort, since it will take years and DEA’s strategy of delay will have been successful yet again.

Do you think that Leonhart should be blocked from beoming Administrator of the DEA? If so, visit Change.org, and ask the senate to block the anti-medical marijuana DEA leader.

MDMA/PTSD documents submitted to Jordanian IRB

On January 21st, MAPS clinical research team submitted documents for our planned MDMA/PTSD study in Jordan to a Jordanian Institutional Review Board (IRB). We expect to hear back from the IRB within a month and will then submit the protocol to the Jordanian FDA (JFDA). We plan to begin enrolling subjects for the trial this spring.

Board of Directors has biannual meeting: Ashawna Hailey donates $200,000!

On February 2, MAPS Board of Directors met in San Jose, California. In the 24-year history of MAPS, this is the first time that we’ve had a mid-fiscal year Board meeting. This is a sign of MAPS’ growth, the increasing complexity of our operations and our budgeting, as well as our ability to respond to a challenging fundraising environment.  In attendance were Board members Ashawna Hailey and John Gilmore, Board member and Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., Deputy Director Valerie Mojeiko, and MAPS Accountant Josh Sonstroem. Board member Robert Barnhart was unable to attend. An additional guest was in attendance and has stated that he will be making a substantial donation in the near future. Ashawna Hailey followed through with a $200,000 check as was pledged at the last board meeting. (Thank you Ashawna!)

The meeting was productive and fruitful. The Board is pleased with MAPS’ operations and with the detailed reports presented at the meeting. Due to the success of our fundraising and our projects, the Board voted to continue with our current plans until our fiscal year-end Board meeting to be held in July 2010.

MAPS, Drug War, and Psychedelic Medicine are central characters in new book by Charles Shaw

Author and activist Charles Shaw’s Exile Nation is a work of "spiritual journalism" that grapples with the themes of drugs, prisons, politics and spirituality through Shaw’s personal story. It is a memoir of his life as a writer, addict, activist, prisoner, and spiritual seeker, a mosaic of his descent into shadow, his personal reckoning, and the long slow crawl back out to reclaim his life, heal the past, and start over. Exile Nation is an archetypal story of self-discovery, a "Hero’s Journey" metaphor for the political and spiritual awakening process that so many are experiencing at this crucial point in human evolution."  Exile Nation is appearing in weekly excerpts throughout 2010 exclusively on Reality Sandwich. Begin with Chapter One – "Dead Time".

Unheard Voices project seeks healing stories of psychedelic medicine

Launching in the summer of 2010, the openDemocracy Exile Nation Unheard Voices Story Project will examine the climate of opinion surrounding drug use, drug prohibition, and criminal justice issues, in a manner that humanizes the story and then brings that human aspect into the policy agenda. The project will collect stories and interviews of those affected by drug prohibition. The Unheard Voices website will host a database of these interviews which will be turned into long and short form documentaries and viral internet videos to help spread awareness of the project. If you are interested in being interviewed for Unheard Voices or contributing to the Drug Policy Forum please contact Charles Shaw (charles.shaw@opendemocracy.net).

Beckley Foundation releases “Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate,” a book researched and written by leading drug policy analysts

A new book published by the Beckley Foundation and Oxford University Press has concluded that cannabis prohibition policies have comprehensively failed and that a new approach to cannabis policy is urgently needed. The book entitled, Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate, published on the 25th of January, was researched and written by a group of the world’s leading drug policy analysts. It gives an overview of the latest scientific evidence surrounding cannabis and calls for an evidence-based approach to policy that seeks to minimize the harms associated with use of cannabis. Read more about Cannabis Policy at here.

Order a copy at Order Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate from Oxford University Press or from Amazon UK