Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Energetic Debate"

By Tom Prichard

Over the weekend I engaged in an "energetic debate" with Neal Levine who is spokesperson for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC) on the Taxpayers' League's radio show. MCC seeks to legalize the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes in Minnesota. We've opposed their initiative because smoked marijuana is a dangerous drug and attempts to legalize it for medical purposes is bad medicine and really an incremental step towards broader legalization. In other states where smoked marijuana is legal for medical purposes, efforts to legalize it generally have followed not too long thereafter.

Neal, while working for medical marijuana legalization in Minnesota in 2007, worked in 2006 for broader legalization of marijuana in Nevada. (They already allowed use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes.) Neal is also the director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, a principle national organization pushing to legalize smoked marijuana. A couple of the monied folks behind marijuana legalization include George Soros and Peter Lewis. Soros spent nearly $20 million promoting the candidacy of John Kerry. Lewis gave $340,000 to MPP in 2004 and is also a major contributor to the ACLU. Lewis also gave a total of $50,000 to both the DFL House and Senate caucuses in 2006.

Science should be the guiding force behind drug approval not political action. Yet well funded political efforts is what's driving efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Minnesota.

1 comment:

Terri said...

Yes, "Science should be the guiding force behind drug approval not political action."

I work for an organization, MAPS, that recently won a landmark lawsuit against the DEA regarding medical marijuana. With one more step in the approval process, we are urging the DEA to accept the recommendation by their own Administrative Law Judge to grant a license to grow marijuana for FDA trials to determine whether or not it has medicinal value. In an effort to put pressure on the DEA, Reps. John Olver (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) are co-sponsoring a Congressional Sign-On Letter urging the DEA to accept the Recommended Ruling.

This legal struggle has taken years. If the DEA rules against granting the license, there’s no telling how many more years will go by before marijuana is evaluated in FDA trials. For decades, the federal government has excluded marijuana from highly-demanded drug development research. Now is a unique window of opportunity to change this!

To learn more about MAPS, please visit our web site at http://www.maps.org -- For background on the case and to contact your Representative, see MAPS' DEA Lawsuit page http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html or supportive editorials from The Economist http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1314&fmt=page and LA Times http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1341&fmt=page.