Whether marijuana is medicine ought to be settled in the laboratory, not the courtroom. So why is the Federal government blocking the relevant research?
Sally Satel, who tends to be a drug-war hawk, is outraged by the obstructionism of the Federal government when it comes to allowing the research that might make marijuana available as a medicine. She’s entirely right.
I doubt that whole cannabis, even if its cannabinoid rations could be standardized through breeding and bledning and the lung insult of smoking largely eliminated by using vaporization instead, will ever be an important medicine. Dutch physicians don’t seem especially eager to have their patients use it. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be made a legal medicine if there are patients who would benefit from it, as there undoubtedly are. And it certainly doesn’t justify the joint efforts of NIDA and the DEA to keep us from finding out whether cannabis is medically useful, and if so to whom.
Censoring science is a nasty habit, whether the bureaucrats doing the censoring work for the Federal government or a univerity Institutional Review Board.
Author: Mark Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken)
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993)
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989)
View all posts by Mark Kleiman