Calling medical marijuana the “Trojan horse of the new millennium,” Andrea Grubb Barthwell, deputy director for demand reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, criticized the use of medical pot and said the drug is a public-health threat. Barthwell made her comments in San Francisco, California during a 25-city nationwide tour to discuss drug-fighting efforts with local officials. Barthwell criticized medical-marijuana advocates, saying they are using the drug as a pawn in their agenda to legalize all dangerous drugs. “Marijuana is a wedge issue to create a change in drug policy, with the intent to legalize drugs without limits,” Barthwell said. “Today, marijuana is strong enough to change the trajectory of a kid’s life.”
In response, marijuana advocates said the Bush administration is ignoring research showing the positive medical applications for marijuana. Advocates also cited studies that showed that since voters approved Proposition 36 three years ago, 35,000 Californians arrested for possessing marijuana and other drugs have opted for treatment instead of criminal penalties. “The bottom line is, her administration is still spending 70 percent to 80 percent of its money on interdiction instead of treatment,” said Daniel .Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “She can play politics and stand on the bandwagon, but things are passing her by.” Barthwell acknowledged that Proposition 36 is valuable in getting drug users into treatment. But she said the federal government needs to strongly re establish “a culture of disapproval” while increases access to treatment. Barthwell also argued that no significant studies have found marijuana use beneficial.