Obama Administration Eliminates Public Health Service Marijuana Research Review

SAM praises move it had endorsed weeks ago


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Today, SAM President Kevin A. Sabet released this statement after the White House decided to eliminate the 1999 Public Health Service (PHS) layer of research review as called for in SAM’s recent research brief:

“Today’s action by the Administration is a step forward for those interested in expediting the research avenues into marijuana and its components, to be delivered in a non-smoked manner by legitimate pharmacists and prescribed by physicians. The Public Health Service review made sense when it was implemented in 1999, when research into marijuana was new and necessitated HHS involvement in order to help research move along. We’ve learned over time that the process had the unintentional effect of delaying research, and so SAM has called for its elimination.

“While we don’t expect the research floodgates to open as a result of this move, since research still must rightfully involve FDA, DEA, and NIH (and institutional review boards), we think this is a step in the right direction toward separating the legalization and medical discussion. For too long, legalization advocates have used medical marijuana as a Trojan Horse for wider objectives; this move hopefully will help us keep medical questions with researchers and away from the political process of ballot referenda. That process has resulted in the electorate voting for “smoked joints for headaches” which is not in line with science.

“SAM continues to support the position of the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and most other major medical groups opposing both legalization and state-based medical marijuana programs, but supporting bona fide research efforts.”