AOH :: MEDMJ.TXT|
More info on the suppression of marijuana for medical use.
Re: Med Marijuana Won't Be Forced
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal appeals court refused Friday to
force the government to allow medical use of marijuana by people
suffering from cancer, AIDS and other illnesses.
The Bush administration's 1992 decision not to let doctors
prescribe marijuana to ease patients' pain or nausea was supported
by ``substantial evidence,'' said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit.
Numerous medical experts testified ``that marijuana's medicinal
value has never been proven in sound scientific studies,'' the
The Clinton administration has said it was reconsidering the
Arnold Trebach of the Drug Policy Foundation, one of the groups
that challenged the government policy, said, ``The ball is in Mr.
Clinton's court. He can look up and say, `Enough of this
foolishness.' He can do something compassionate.''
Supporters of medical use of marijuana say there is strong
evidence that it is effective in easing the ill effects of cancer
chemotherapy, AIDS, glaucoma and neurological conditions such as
The government allowed some people to get permission from the
Food and Drug Administration to use marijuana for such purposes
starting in 1976. A handful of those people still are allowed to
use marijuana, but new requests have not been approved.
The appeals court said the Bush administration showed a
``reasonable preference for rigorous scientific proof over
anecdotal evidence, even when reported by respected physicians.''
The court also rejected claims that Bush administration
officials had a long history of prejudice against medical use of
``We are not impressed,'' Judge James L. Buckley wrote for the
court. His opinion was joined by Chief Judge Abner Mikva and Judge
Douglas H. Ginsburg.
In refusing to allow medical use of marijuana in March 1992,
Robert Bonner, then head of the Drug Enforcement Administration,
likened the drug's advocates to ``snake oil salesmen.''
Bonner said marijuana was not a safe or effective drug for any
Trebach said a DEA administrative law judge who recommended
approval of medicinal marijuana in 1988 found substantial evidence
of marijuana's usefulness in easing the effects of some illnesses.
``There are thousands of doctors out there who want to prescribe
it. There are tens of thousands of people who want to use it. Big
Brother in Washington is saying no,'' Trebach said.
Another three-judge appellate panel ordered the government in
1991 to restudy its earlier decision not to allow medical use of
marijuana. The DEA's 1992 policy resulted, and Friday's ruling
affirmed that decision.
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