Cut red tape for marijuana research

To the editor:

Ed Gogek, in his Nov. 30 guest column “Medical marijuana laws aren’t the answer,” suggests we think twice about medical marijuana, so here is a second thought.

While it is true the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not support the medical use of marijuana in general, they do acknowledge in a position paper released earlier this year that, “marijuana may currently be an option for cannabinoid administration for children with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions and for whom current therapies are inadequate.” The AAP also recommends reclassifying the plant to make research easier.

Sen. Chuck Grassley held a hearing on June 24 and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) admitted at that hearing that it added an extra layer of red tape for marijuana research in 1999 that does not exist for other schedule 1 substances like heroin and LSD. In an announcement in the Federal Register on June 23, DHHS admitted, “the PHS review overlaps in several important ways with FDA’s IND process and is no longer necessary to support the conduct of scientifically-sound studies into the potential therapeutic uses of marijuana.” DHHS promised Sen. Grassley it would expedite the research and come up with a report early next spring, but this explains why 40 states have lost faith in the federal government and carved out their own state medical marijuana laws. The federal government is going to have to do some serious work to regain credibility on this issue.

Carl Olsen

Des Moines

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