Feds stick to court argument that marijuana is dangerous

See also: US Government’s medical marijuana patent

On the one hand, United States federal government officials have consistently denied that marijuana has any medical benefits. On the other, the government actually holds patents for the medical use of the plant.

From San Fransisco Gate 1.02.15

Two weeks after President Obama signed legislation prohibiting federal interference with state medical marijuana laws, his administration has told a federal judge in Sacramento that pot is still a dangerous drug with no medical value.

The U.S. attorney’s office, representing Obama’s Justice Department, made the argument in a court filing Wednesday opposing a challenge to the long-standing federal law that classifies marijuana as a Schedule One drug along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy — substances that have a high potential for abuse and no safe medical use.

 While there may be “some dispute among doctors as to whether marijuana is medicine,” there is ample evidence to support the government’s conclusion that “this psychoactive, addictive drug is not accepted as safe for medical use at this time, even with medical supervision,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Broderick wrote.

Lawyers for alleged marijuana growers countered that the government presented no credible evidence that marijuana carries the potential hazards of legal substances, like tobacco and alcohol, and that the administration’s position makes even less sense in light of the law Obama signed Dec. 16.

That law, part of an overall government financing bill for the year, bars the federal government from spending money to prevent California and 21 other states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Congress can’t rationally “justify a finding that marijuana has no medical benefits while demanding that the distribution of medical marijuana be protected from federal government interference,” said Zenia Gilg, lawyer for one of seven defendants charged with growing marijuana on national forest land in Trinity and Tehama counties.

The written arguments come two months after a hearing ordered by U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller over prosecutors’ objections. She said defense lawyers had presented expert declarations showing “new scientific and medical information” raising questions about the continued classification of marijuana in Schedule One, which effectively outlaws its possession nationwide.

At the hearing, the defendants called doctors and researchers who asserted marijuana’s medical benefits and relative safety. The administration presented its own expert, a Harvard professor and former drug official in the George W. Bush administration who said pot is both addictive and dangerous.

In Wednesday’s filing, the Obama administration said a single expert’s testimony is enough to show the legally required “rational basis” for marijuana’s current classification. But Broderick, the government’s lawyer, also said that “most mainstream physicians agree that marijuana is a dangerous drug,” citing the American Psychiatric Association’s observation that pot use can have “serious side effects.”

Although some ingredients of marijuana have government-approved medicinal use, Broderick wrote, there are no adequate long-term studies attesting to the medical value or safety of marijuana. In fact, he said, “there is no standard, ‘medical’ marijuana,” and neither patients nor their doctors know which substances they’re ingesting.

Gilg argued that there are many such studies, but none the government will accept because it has refused to release federally approved marijuana supplies to independent researchers.

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: begelko@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @egelko

4 thoughts on “Feds stick to court argument that marijuana is dangerous

  1. “there is ample evidence to support the government’s conclusion that “this psychoactive, addictive drug is not accepted as safe for medical use at this time,”
    Where is all this ample evidence ?
    Saying that cannabis makes white women want to sleep with jazz musicians or that cannabis makes black men step on a white mans shadow isn’t scientific evidence here in the real world .
    Show real evidence of real harm or STFU and get out of the way .

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  2. Yes, follow the $. Sadly, it seems to be universal truth here.
    Let us ask who benefits from not legalizing cannabis…
    Physicians and the medical ‘industry’ overall.
    Prisons, the DEA, and other law-enforcement agencies (fewer
    inmates, reduced funding, etc.)
    Drug companies.
    The cotton industry (hemp is better and cheaper in many uses).
    Tobacco and liquor/alcohol suppliers.
    … and more.
    Some of these are big players, i.e., big $ and big influence.
    They care not a whit about the public good, only their balance sheets.

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  3. The FDA published studies in 1964 and 1974 proving the effectiveness of cannabis marijuana treatment for brain cancer and killing of cancer cells. They then patented it as a “medicine” and kept it from the American people. At least a thousand studies exist, globally, also proving cannabis marijuana as a safe and effective non addictive treatment for chronic pain and many diseases, especially cancer for the past 3 decades. These countries are not under the Medical Mafia control by the FDA, Pharmaceutical Drug Companies, and the American Medical Association in America. Causing the ban by DuPont and Rockfeller of ” Natural Science in Medical Schools. Please read The President’s Cancer Panel Report of Many 2008. It clearly states that millions of more Americans are going to develop cancer, and especially infants, toddlers, and children from the increase of poor quality soil producing our food supply, and the wrong nutritional choices of the Standard American Diet (SAD), and the accumulation of “toxins” in the body and the daily bombardment from our polluted environment. The National Cancer Institute has declared brain cancer as the number one killer of children in America. Infants are developing in “toxic wombs” from ” certified safe drinking water.” Or developing brain cancer within the first 18 months of life. Cannabis Oil and super nutrients and juicing is proving to be the most effective gentle treatment to reverse cancer. Chemo Therapy and vaccines is a contribution fact to the demise of these infants, toddlers, and children further overloading their immune systems with more “toxic poisons”. The same for adults.

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