The Med Guru
By Riya Chauhan
Published on January 13, 2009
Amherst, Massachusetts, January 13: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has turned down the petition by a University of Massachusetts professor who was seeking an authorization to grow marijuana for medical research.
Two years ago, an administrative judge had given green signal to the professor’s appeal, recommending the federal government sanction for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to grow marijuana for research purposes.
is the only institution in the world, which holds the permit to grow marijuana. Lyle E. Craker, a professor of plant and soil sciences at Amherst wanted permission to create the second lab to grow cannabis for his research on medicinal plants.
The professor had first applied for the DEA permit in 2001 but it was discarded in 2004. Craker and his supporters demanded a reversal of that ruling, claiming that Mississippi’s product was not potent enough for research purposes, and that the government did not make it available enough for the researchers.
In February 2007, a nonbinding decision was issued in Craker’s favor, by an administrative judge. However, the DEA, in its Jan. 7 ruling, rejected Craker’s bid saying that he could not demonstrate that the government’s monopoly on producing and dispensing the drug for medical research was “inadequate.” According to the DEA, the laboratory Craker is demanding, would be against public interest.
It seems that the agency wants to limit medicinal marijuana research, said the disappointed professor. “We’ve seen a big upsurge in the use of medicinal plants to treat illnesses,” Craker said, adding that he was confident that security measures at UMass would ensure that the drug does not fall into the hands of students, as the DEA fears.
Massachusetts Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry and several other members of Congress have sided with Craker in this matter.