Feds to debate medical use of marijuana

Marijuana is currently classified in the US as a Schedule I controlled substance: no medically accepted use, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Ira Flatow's syndicated public radio program Science Friday has a segment out about next week's planned arguments to a federal appeals court by pro-pot advocacy org Americans for Safe Access, in hopes of relaxing federal restrictions.

The radio segment includes UCSF oncologist Donald Abrams, who speaks about the evidence on the medical benefits of pot.

Disclosure: I'm a cancer patient, I use pot for medical purposes, and I'm strongly in favor of legalization and easier access for seriously ill people (and honestly, who cares, everyone else too).

HT: @milesobrien


  1. Of note: The legalization of medical marijuana is a ballot question here in Massachusetts in November. It is currently expected to pass.

    1. Of the votes I plan to cast in MA this November, this is the one that feels like it has the most potential to have an immediate positive impact on people.

      1. I dunno, the Senate race is also pretty important. And the death with dignity law. I actually feel pretty good about voting this year, despite having zero effect on the Presidential election.

    2. Of other note: it’s on the ballot here in Colorado for recreational use. Not sure if it has a lot of a chance, but just the fact that it is makes me optimistic.

    3. It is already legal for medicnal use here in Oregon.  We have legal growers (they have their medical growers license), dispenseries and those using for medicinal purposes have MM cards.  That however does not stop the Feds from coming in a busting these legal growers.  They have raided numerous farms in the last year, confiscating the plants, citing the growers and leaving the legal card holders with no option except to buy from other sources.  So just because it is legal for medicinal use at the state level, it does not insure that the Feds won’t  disagree and raid the growers.

  2. I bet the politicians are all lining up to see who can be the first to be smeared as “soft on crime” for supporting this common-sense measure.

  3. Well I’m not holding my hopes up high, but fingers crossed there is some sensible discussion and things start at least heading in the right direction. Its time marijuana was treated with intelligence by governments world wide.

    1.  I agree. Don’t hold any hopes for anything reasonable from the drug warriors. The argument goes “It’s evil, therefore illegal, It’s illegal, therefore evil.” Repeat as often as needed and walk away confident that you’ve proven your point. Science and politics do not generally mix well.

  4. I don’t really expect it to go any better than when Rep. Jared Polis questioned the DEA Admins about this. “It’s illegal, which is why it’s illegal, which is why it’s illegal…” etc.

  5. I was listening in today…and boy I’m glad Ira called out Ms. Madras for filibustering during the Q & A.

    For a politically-charged scientific topic, the discussion sure seemed to become an argument in a hurry.

  6. We’re sort of facing the same situation up here in Canada, but it’s proceeding in a very different way. Namely, R v Mernagh stands to legalize personal possession and cultivation (but not trafficking, so dealing is still illegal) of cannabis across the board, federally. The full decision is here if anyone wants to read it.

    The TL;DR is that after six constitutional challenges in ten years, Health Canada’s medical marijuana program was taken out back with the rifle by the judge when a man was busted for growing his own MMJ because he couldn’t find a single doctor, after 15 different doctors, who would sign his forms, so he was forced to grow illegally or suffer untreated. It’s currently pending the results of an appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeals, and Mernagh’s side has a very strong case for a partial or total victory.

    The appeals court has no set deadline to release a decision, but they’re typically released in three months or so. We just passed the five-month mark since the oral hearings in early May, so it should be released any time now.

  7. The singularity has been with us for some time.  Corporations, lifeless entities run by and for massive computer networks that keep financial score have been completely ruthless in utterly destroying anything that individuals can do to entertain themselves if there is a corporate product alternative. Booze is legal mainly because you need a corporate funded research lab and industrial complex to produce.  Pot which can be grown by anyone with a simple pot and some soil, is verboten. Skynet likes it’s slaves to buy everything from the company store, not grow it on their own. All thanks to Abe Lincoln who let the corporations back into the drivers seat while exterminating native Americans, just your typical lawyer.

    1. I suspect you are trolling (it’s a complicated enough mythos I’m not actually sure) but let me just say you greatly overestimate the difficulty of making alcoholic beverages. Making good beverages  consistently  requires some practice, but not a lot of capital.

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