White House eases restrictions on medical marijuana research

The Obama Administration announced on Monday that the Public Health Service (a subsidiary of the Department of Health and Human Services) will no longer be required to review proposed medical marijuana experiments which test the drug’s health benefits. Instead, the Health Department will be responsible for spear-heading some of the research done to verify cannabis’ hypothetical medical uses.

The White House’s announcement that it is cutting some red-tape on marijuana experimentation isn’t surprising as U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during an interview in February that, “marijuana can be helpful”, “for some medical conditions.”

Earlier in the spring, a bi-partisan group of congressmen petitioned the Secretary of Health to remove the review requirements which were put into place in 1999, and intended to “facilitate the research needed…by making research-grade marijuana available for well-designed studies.”

Currently marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug on the federal list of banned substances, meaning that it has a “high potential for abuse” and “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

After the announcement was made on Monday Drug czar spokesman Mario Zepeda said, “The Obama Administration has actively supported scientific research on whether marijuana…can be safe and effective medicine.”

Despite eliminating the Health Service review process, marijuana used for scientific research still must be certified by the DEA – a process in itself which can take over a year to complete.

[Mother Jones]