U.S. Government Declares Marijuana Has No Medical Value

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently decreed that marijuana has no accepted medical use and should remain classified alongside heroin and cocaine as a dangerous and addictive drug.

The DEA’s decree was issued almost 10 years after supporters of medical marijuana filed a petition with the agency to have marijuana removed from schedule I of the CSA and rescheduled as cannabis in schedule III, IV or V.

Despite a mounting body of research that demonstrates marijuana’s effectiveness in treating certain diseases, like glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, and the side effects of chemotherapy, the DEA ruled “that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.” (Read the rest of the ruling here.)”

For a review of over a decade of scientific literature exploring the clinical applications of medical marijuana, click here.

As of May 2011, 16 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes. In those states, crime rates have not only failed to rise, as so many critics of legalization predicted, they have actually decreased; even in densely populated areas like Los Angeles and San Diego.

From an Americans for Safe Access statement:

The denial also comes the same week as the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) is holding its 21st annual symposium in St. Charles, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. The symposium is sponsored in part by an array of pharmaceutical companies, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and ElSohly Laboratories, Inc., the federal government’s only licensed source of research-grade cannabis (marijuana) used in therapeutic studies. Currently, several pharmaceutical companies are asking the government to reschedule organically produced THC, the primary compound found in the marijuana plant, so they can sell a generic version of Marinol, which is now made synthetically.

“The government cannot have it both ways, marijuana is either a medicine or it’s not,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “If the government is going to sponsor a conference on medical marijuana, it should show the same deference to the millions of patients across America who simply want access to it.” ASA and its grassroots patient base has been urging President Obama since he took office to develop a comprehensive federal policy that would address medical marijuana as a public health issue.

As Care2′s Amelia T. reports, in a letter sent earlier this week to federal prosecutors, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole wrote that the Obama administration, which generally takes a hands-off approach to prosecuting medical marijuana operations, “never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law.”

This blatant reversal has many afraid that Federal harassment of medical marijuana dispensary owners and patients will resume with new vigor, despite the fact that they are in violation of no state laws.

Despite this sudden and contradictory development, supporters of medical marijuana are optimistic.

“We have foiled the government’s strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits, that marijuana really does have therapeutic value,” Joe Elford told the L.A. Times. Elford is the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access and the lead counsel on the recently filed lawsuit.

The Times notes that this is the third time that petitions to reclassify pot have failed to be approved. The first, filed in 1972, took 17 years for a ruling. The second was filed in 1995 and denied six years later. Both decisions were appealed, but the courts sided with the federal government.

Related Reading:

Arizona Becomes 15th State To Approve Medical Marijuana

Should California Legalize Marijuana?

Medical Marijuana Bill Could Pass In Illinois

Religious Freedom Doesn’t Trump Canada’s Medical Marijuana Laws

Image Credit: Flickr - ElPablo!


Paul Diamond
Paul Diamond7 years ago

Hey Trudy,
Sorry I took so long to respond. There is the Marijuana Policy Project, www.mpp.org. Then there is http://www.mjguide.com This is a listing of many of the organizations that are engaged in drug legalization. Perhaps one of them would be a better fit for you.
As to Rep. Franks bill, I too have a repubican congressional delegation so I can sympathize. However, write them anyway. They will respond, if you don't like their response call them on it. Call their offices and ask to speak directly with the aide responsible for the subject. Get up a petition and get signatures from their constituents. If they are unresponsive, keep all their correspondence, document or record all calls nd the results and campaign against them.

If you want things the way they used to be- Tax a millionaire, support a union and buy American.

Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane7 years ago

The will NEVER legalize it! they make more money off of OUR family's pain and suffering than they would from taxes! They have people believing Cannabis is a NARCOTIC?????? The IGNORANCE keeps breeding and this is how "They" are successful! INFORM Your kids of the TRUTHS like the CIA has a HUGE involvement in drugs getting into our country a real terrorist attack on US soil. In spite of all of the crime, disease etc. They ARE criminals occupying OUR offices and buildings!

andrea b.
Andrea Boyce7 years ago

Eternal G.
I do not know what your comment is in relation to which comment of mine and yes, "Never Mind the Bollucks, God Save the Queen, she's just a human being."

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G7 years ago

BOLLOCKS!!! Queen Victoria (of all people) was a fervent user!

christopher murray

Funny how one agency says it has no value, all the while the government is going to give the University of Mississippi $250 million for the compassionate IED program to grow marijuana.

christopher murray

As a self educated researcher into this topic, i find it odd that one arm of the federal government declares that marijuana has no medical value (an opinion not shared by English or French scientific communities), but this year, the federal goverment will spend $250 million dollars on the compassionate IED program. This program, started in 1978, allows patients to receive medical marijuana (federally funded). Though no new patients have been enrolled since 1991, the government grows, and mails out marijuana to seven patients currently enrolled in the program

The program was started to test cancer and AIDS patients to see what the effect it would on such diseases such as wasting (mainly in AIDS and chemo patients with lack of appetite) and patients who elected not to have chemo (many of whom outlived those with who recieved chemo treatment) The DFA (who gets federal funding, and needs to justify its existance) comes out with another report that more or less, well soon be found to be inaccurate. For those more interested in the history of the compassionate IED program, pelase send me and email on my Care2causes page.

Ian MacLeod
Ian M7 years ago

"Like you can't tell the difference between a druggie and a cancer patient? "

Obviously the Police State and its representatives can NOT tell the difference; to them, there IS NONE.


andrea b.
Andrea Boyce7 years ago

No they can not tell the difference between a stoner and a cancer patient because they are all stoners. Anyone with half a brain would know this PLANT, WEED that comes from the earth given to us by God can fix all of our economy problems. Taxation, jobs, manufacturing, medical miracle. The GOP and the TEA Party is definitely stoners or extremely stupid. I hear Montel Williams has been offered a job to figure out how to make selling marijuana simple like going into a drug store with your parents. Hey Mom, sick of cancer come with me into the world of natural herbs and I will heal you.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

Just like the FDA and nutrition places, the feds can't make up their minds.

Milk is bad for you, then it's a miracle drink. Then it's full of pus, including the organic stuff, then it's perfect for weight loss.

As for marijuana, they're trying to appease law enforcement by saying it's no medical use. Like you can't tell the difference between a druggie and a cancer patient?

andrea b.
Andrea Boyce7 years ago

Hi, Debbie:
Why does our government lie about everything pretty much. A very ill girlfriiend of mine heard that she would not be getting her monthly social security check which she has paid into her entire life and almost had a complete breakdown with worry. If it was not for her caring friends I think she would not have made it through the weekend. Isn't cancer a big enough scare and then she being told she will not get her SS and Medicare. To me that is murder by politics. Why can she not just get medical marijuana instead of having to buy unnecessary and useless medications that do nothing but hurt her. She has been looking for something that will help her and it is right outside her door but she can not go to jail when she is so ill.