Thursday, February 22, 2007

Feds Sued Over Access To Medical Marijuana

There are two main reasons why marijuana remains illegal.

One is that the enforcement of that criminal law helps to create a large body count of arrests to justify the employment of -- in many places -- an excessive number of law enforcement officers. A national security state needs its gendarmerie.

The second (and perhaps more important) reason is the power of the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. Big pharma cannot profit from marijuana, at least in its most familiar (smokeable) form. Additionally, the industry stands to lose from people treating their over-medicated maladies with grass rather than with prescription drugs.

Frustrated by government policy and inaction, a group of advocates for medical marijuana sued two federal health agencies on Wednesday over the assertion that smoking it has no medical benefit.

The group, Americans for Safe Access, a nonprofit organization based in Oakland, filed the lawsuit in Federal District Court, challenging the government's position that marijuana, "has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States."

In its lawsuit, the group contends that federal regulators have publicly issued "false and misleading statements" about the medical benefits of marijuana.

The lawsuit, which named the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration, seeks a court order to retract and correct statements that the group called, "incorrect, dishonest and a flagrant violation of laws."

A lawyer for the medical marijuana group, Joseph Elford, said the lawsuit was filed now because administrative avenues had been exhausted and because of mounting scientific and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.

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