Paul Rosenberg writes:
In December 2007, officials in the Bush White House refused to open an email from the Environmental Protection Agency that concluded that “greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled”. If they didn’t open the email, then the facts didn’t exist, according to their pseudo-logic – much like a child who thinks that if he closes his eyes, he becomes invisible to whatever scary monsters might be hunting him. There’s no similar smoking gun with the Obama Administration – at least not yet – but a strikingly similar denial of scientific knowledge from within the executive branch has just been announced by the Obama Administration.
On Friday, July 8, Obama’s Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator, Michele M. Leonhart, decreed in the Federal Register that marijuana “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States”, thus keeping it in the same category as heroin, as it has been since 1970. This despite the fact that the National Cancer Institute, part of the cabinet-level Department of Health and Human Services, cites marijuana’s potential helpfulness with nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia and pain.
It’s not just the National Cancer Institute, of course. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws saying exactly the opposite – that marijuana does have an accepted medical use, and that doctors are free to prescribe it. There are, in fact, thousands of such prescriptions written every day, no matter how hard Leonhart and Obama try to deny it. Are some of those prescriptions bogus? Undoubtedly. But it’s the specific claims of individuals that are questionable, not the underlying medicine.
Of course it’s true that rigorous drug trial-type tests are lacking, but that’s largely a result of the government’s refusal to admit there’s anything to investigate, as Dr. Igor Grant, director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at University of California-San Diego, explained to the LA Times. He told them that state-supported clinical trials have shown marijuana helps with neuropathic pain and muscle spasticity, but that the federal government’s position discourages further research needed to test the drug’s medical effectiveness.
“We’re trapped in kind of a vicious cycle here,” Grant told the Times. “It’s always a danger if the government acts on certain kinds of persuasions or beliefs rather than evidence.”