[FWD: AAMC: US CA: Editorial: Don’t Bogart That Research]

Sheree M. Krider

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——– Original Message ——–
Subject: AAMC: US CA: Editorial: Don’t Bogart That Research
From: Richard Lake <rlake@mapinc.org>
Date: Fri, September 04, 2009 10:59 am
To: aamcnewtalk@drugsense.org

Newshawk: Please Write a LTE www.mapinc.org/resource/#guides
Pubdate: Fri, 4 Sep 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Page: A36
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/bc7El3Yo
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/248
Bookmark: http://mapinc.org/topic/University+of+Mississippi
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Lyle+Craker

DON’T BOGART THAT RESEARCH

When the federal Department of Health and Human Services recently
issued a request for proposals, seeking competitive applications for
the production, analysis and distribution of "marijuana cigarettes,"
the request might have seemed a bit unusual to those unfamiliar with
Washington’s dance around cannabis research. The federal government,
after all, is not widely known to support marijuana cultivation.

But those in the know just shrugged. The department has issued
similar requests every few years to select a contractor to conduct
government-approved marijuana research, and with depressing
regularity it has then awarded an exclusive contract to the
University of Mississippi. For 40 years now, Washington has sought
such "competitive applications" and Mississippi "wins" every time.

This rigged contest has successfully thwarted meaningful academic
inquiry into marijuana’s medicinal value, without which the debate
over its efficacy is bound to endure. Other studies — not conducted
by the University of Mississippi — have suggested that marijuana has
therapeutic value. But because the United States has discouraged such
research and made it legally difficult to undertake, these studies
have been limited in scope. What’s missing is the broad research
analyzing the cultivation and properties of different strains and
their effects on a variety of illnesses. For example, a strain of
cannabis that is most effective with glaucoma may not be the same
strain best suited to cancer patients.

Even if the university were running a perfect program, one
institution cannot fulfill the country’s research needs. In February
2007, when Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner recommended
that the Drug Enforcement Administration grant a license to cultivate
marijuana for research purposes to a botanist at the University of
Massachusetts, she said she had concluded that the supply of
marijuana from the University of Mississippi program was of
insufficient quality and quantity for research purposes.

The deadline for this latest round of applications is Oct. 9. The
government should take the opportunity to break the University of
Mississippi’s monopoly and choose a different institution. That step
alone would be a sign that the Obama administration will prioritize
science over politics. Merely shifting the contract from one
institution to another, however, won’t change the status quo. That
will only happen when the federal government changes policy and
awards multiple contracts for this important research.

For News, Recipes, and Medical Info
Come visit us at http://www.letfreedomgrow.com

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