UMass Professor Files Final DEA Brief in 10-Year Fight to End Government Marijuana Research Monopoly

Originally appearing here.

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On Monday, March 7, Professor Lyle Craker, Director of the Medicinal Plant Program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, filed the final brief in his ten-year fight to persuade the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow him to grow marijuana for medical research. Craker is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and law firm Jenner & Block. Craker is seeking a license to grow marijuana under contract to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a non-profit research organization whose mission includes developing marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine. MAPS and Craker are working to end the government’s monopoly on marijuana for research to open the door for privately funded studies. A University of Mississippi lab funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse is currently the only facility in the U.S. permitted to grow marijuana for research. NIDA’s mandate only to support research into the harms of marijuana has led it to refuse to provide marijuana to two FDA-approved MAPS protocols, preventing them from taking place. On June 25, 2001, Craker applied for a DEA license to start a marijuana production facility at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. On February 12, 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner issued a ruling recommending that Craker’s request be granted. On January 14, 2009, after a two-year delay, DEA Acting Administrator Michelle Leonhart rejected the recommendation. On December 2, 2010, Craker’s Motion to Reconsider was denied. In the denial letter, the DEA offered Craker a chance to submit his final brief about the case. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws. Yet the federal government still insists that marijuana is a dangerous drug with no medical value. A new study by MAPS proposes to investigate the safety and effectiveness of smoked and/or vaporized marijuana for posttraumatic stress disorder in U.S. war veterans. The FDA is likely to approve the protocol, but the study must still pass a NIDA/Public Health Service review process that exists only because of NIDA’s monopoly. Permission from these agencies is unlikely to be forthcoming. Craker’s brief is the latest attempt by scientists to conduct privately funded medical marijuana studies. If the DEA rejects Bittner’s 2007 recommendation, the case could continue in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and provide ample justification for future state-level reform efforts.


Brad Burge
MAPS Communication and Education Associate Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (831) 429-6362 x103 Media Requests:
Press Resources:

Lyle Craker, Ph.D. Director, Medicinal Plant Program University of Massachusetts-Amherst (413) 545-2347

SOURCE Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MAPS sent out this press release to correct an earlier AP wire service story (“UMass professor drops bid to grow medical pot,” March 4, 2011) that claimed that Professor Lyle Craker was giving up his attempts to break NIDA’s monopoly on marijuana for research. MAPS, Craker, and his lawyers at the ACLU have been trying to end that monopoly for nearly ten years in order to open the door for privately-funded medical marijuana research. On March 7, Craker’s lawyers filed their final brief in the case and are waiting to hear back from the DEA before deciding how to move forward.