By Ed Coghlan
If the medical benefits of marijuana are going to be approved by the federal government, it won’t happen while Barack Obama is President.
The Drug Enforcement Administration declared marijuana will remain a schedule 1 drug that has “no medical use or purpose” and has a high potential for abuse. It keeps marijuana in the same classification as heroin and cocaine.
At least 25 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of medical marijuana for conditions including chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis and glaucoma to name only a few conditions.
“This decision isn’t based on danger,” DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told National Public Radio. “This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it’s not.”
As you can imagine, those who believe marijuana has medical benefits aren’t happy with the DEA.
“DEA’s decision flies in the face of objective science and overwhelming public opinion,” National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith said in a statement late Wednesday.
For medical marijuana proponents it appears that there is one piece of good news.
The New York Times reported the DEA Administration will allow other universities to apply to grow marijuana.
The University of Mississippi has been the only institution authorized to grow the drug for use in medical studies. As a result, the supply of marijuana federally approved for research purposes has been limited and very difficult to access.
Congress could always reschedule marijuana essentially preempting the DEA decision, but that’s not likely.
The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.
However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.