The Obama Administration has announced that the federal government will drop current marijuana research restrictions, leaving the door open to long-awaited and much-needed investigations into the efficacy of medical cannabis.
“Eliminating the Public Health Service review should help facilitate additional research to advance our understanding of both the adverse effects and potential therapeutic uses for marijuana or its components,” explained Mario Moreno Zepeda, a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The Public Health Service review was a stifling bureaucratic process first established under the Clinton Administration in 1999 to ensure the scientific validity of certain research projects — applications for cannabis research were particularly demanding, and cannabis ultimately became much more difficult to study than cocaine or heroin. Ultimately, the review process obstructed more research than it encouraged.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of legislators — even some who support the continuation of prohibition — called for these restrictions to be lifted.
“This announcement shows that the White House is ready to move away from the war on medical marijuana and enable the performance of legitimate and necessary research,” remarked Bill Piper, director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s office of national affairs.
Photo Credit: Eric Weaver