MAPS has hired Chris Chiles and Stephen Morseman to coordinate a campaign to obtain a DEA license for Professor Lyle Craker of UMass Amherst to grow marijuana under contract to MAPS, and end the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) monopoly over the supply of marijuana available to the research community. Chiles and Morseman are attempting to have the issue brought up at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing for the new DEA Administrator. President Barack Obama has nominated DEA Deputy Administrator Michele Leonhart, but she is a holdover from President Bush and her track record does not bode well for medical marijuana and marijuana research.
On February 12, 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner ruled it is in the public interest for the DEA to license Craker. However, on January 12, 2009, Leonhart rejected this recommendation. On January 30, 2009, Craker’s lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Motion to Reconsider. The DEA has not responded. The ACLU has filed nine status updates (every 60 days) with the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, in case the DEA conclusively rejects the ALJ recommendation and a legal appeal is needed.
The goal of MAPS’ campaign is to push three key senators—Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Al Franken (D-Minnesota)—to ask Leonhart during the confirmation hearing to grant Craker’s motion and accept the administrative law judge’s recommendation to end the federal monopoly on the supply of marijuana for federally regulated research.