Stephen Morseman: Pot fight not over

Originally appeared at: Editor: Proposition 19’s failure will not be the end of the legalization effort, rest assured it will continue unabated, but we should focus our attention on better protecting medical marijuana patients. Doctors need more data to choose the best treatment option for their patients. We should call for the expansion of cannabis research for FDA approved studies in order to settle medical marijuana at a national level through its approval as a prescription medication. Research is currently blocked by a federal monopoly over the marijuana supply, held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA’s mission is to study the harmful effects of illicit drugs; with this in mind they have denied studies looking into the therapeutic potential of cannabis research materials even after their protocols obtained FDA approval. Another source of marijuana is clearly needed. Research must continue, but DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner’s recommendation to license professor Lyle Craker to cultivate marijuana at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst was rejected by acting DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart. It’s time we stood up to the government and ask why the DEA has chosen to uphold an obstructionist federal monopoly. STEPHEN MORSEMAN Read more: Another letter in response to the failure of prop 19 in California stressing the importance of medicinal marijuana research.