In the last High Concept you said that the crackdown on California dispensaries was a federal matter — but I thought the Obama administration was all for medical marijuana. What gives?
I recently signed a petition supporting marijuana legalization (hey, we can dream) on the White House's official website for submitting such things (whitehouse.gov/petitions), and part of the deal with this site is that if more than 5,000 signatures are acquired within 30 days, a response is guaranteed. This particular petition had over 17,000 signatures, and lo and behold, I got an e-mailed response rejecting the petition (as expected) along with an explanation. Gil Kerlikowski, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was the author.
“Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses,” he wrote. “That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine has found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.”
By ardently supporting ongoing research, he must've meant, “repressing all but a small handful of carefully chosen, privileged researchers.”
So that seems to be the administration's official stance. We can't make any legal progress because we don't have enough research to back up our claims, but the research is effectively forbidden.
We need unrestricted, legitimate research to back up our future laws. Let's create petitions to allow for widespread marijuana research by capable scientists. What's the harm in that? Let's see what science has to say. Restricting research is no way to win a scientific argument.
Is Connecticut getting anywhere on the medical marijuana law? If so, how close? Is there anyone I can contact to express my approval?
Thanks for the reminder! When I spoke to Erik Williams, the executive director of the Connecticut chapter of NORML, a few months ago, he talked about how the hardest part of his job was keeping supporters consistently engaged and active. The medical marijuana bill was unexpectedly shot down in June during the same legislative session in which decriminalization was passed into law. And then said session ended. We have to wait until next year before medical pot can make its way back onto the voting floor. It's out of sight, for the moment, but hopefully not out of mind. When the time comes to make our next cohesive push, Erik Williams will once again be at the forefront, so to get involved and show your support, I'd start by signing up for his e-mail newsletters and letting him know you'd like to help. (Visit norml.org/chapters/ct to sign up, or e-mail him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org) Especially if you or someone you know is suffering because they are being deprived of medicine that can help them. Or if you have any skills you think could be beneficial to the cause. Or if you just want to call your state reps and let them know you are a supporter, that's great too.
In the latest installment of his newsletter, Williams says, “CT NORML has been working with legislators and the Governor's office to craft THE BEST medical marijuana law in America for the next legislative session. If you would like to help in crafting language, reviewing language or providing research support, please contact me directly. We WILL make history again next legislative session. Be part of it”
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