WASHINGTON -- December 7 -- The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) today reaffirmed its longstanding support for dissemination of accurate scientific information about marijuana's medical benefits and expressed the hope that the "Safe and Effective Drug Act" introduced yesterday by U.S. Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) can be a part of that process. Souder's bill calls upon the National Institute on Drug Abuse "to examine the available scientific data regarding the safety and effectiveness of smoking marijuana" and requires the Food and Drug Administration to distribute this information.
"We have no doubt that an honest, objective evaluation of medical marijuana will show what every prior impartial evaluation has shown, that marijuana has great benefits for some patients and is safer than many commonly used prescription and over-the-counter drugs," said Steve Fox, MPP director of government relations. "Marijuana has never caused a fatal overdose, while acetaminophen -- the active ingredient in Tylenol-is estimated to kill 458 Americans per year from acute liver failure."
In 1988, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young wrote, after a two-year study, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known." Eleven years later, the Institute of Medicine reported, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety... all can be mitigated by
"There are two red flags in Souder's bill suggesting he doesn't really want a fair study," Fox added. "First, he wants it done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, whose main role in medical marijuana research has been to obstruct it. Second, he is asking them to focus only on smoked marijuana, while growing numbers of medical users use vaporizers -- devices that allow them to inhale marijuana's therapeutically active components without the harmful irritants in smoke. For 17 months now, NIDA has been blocking researchers from obtaining 10 grams of marijuana for a vaporizer study. Sadly, NIDA's record does not indicate that it is capable of dealing with medical
marijuana in an unbiased, impartial way."
With more than 17,000 members and 150,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP
believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. For more information, please visit MarijuanaPolicy.org.