It is with sadness that we share the passing of Dr. Lyle Craker on May 15 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Craker was a world renowned scientist and professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who studied medicinal plants, herbs and spices. Dr. Craker began working with MAPS in 1999 on a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seeking a license to grow marijuana for FDA and DEA-regulated medical marijuana research in order to end the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s monopoly on marijuana for research purposes. The lawsuit went to trial inside DEA headquarters in 2005, with DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner ruling in favor of Dr. Craker and MAPS, concluding that it would be in the public interest for Dr. Craker to be issued a DEA license. Unfortunately, the DEA rejected the recommendation of ALJ Bittner and managed to sustain the NIDA monopoly until 2021, after Dr. Craker was ill with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Craker’s efforts were key in helping to end the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s monopoly on marijuana for research purposes. A timeline of Dr. Craker’s work with MAPS is posted on MAPS’ website. Dr. Craker’s willingness to devote much of his career to the study of plants, herbs and spices laid the groundwork for others in the field. Dr. Craker will be sorely missed, and we extend our condolences to his family.