November 23, 2011
Medical Marijuana: The Government’s View
To the Editor:
In his Nov. 7 Op-Ed article, “Reefer Madness,” Ethan Nadelmann criticized the Obama administration’s position on medical marijuana and described the debate as “essentially a cultural and political struggle.”
The issue of medical marijuana is not about culture and counterculture. It is not a struggle; it is not a war. It simply comes down to how we approve medications as safe and effective for use in theUnited States. To date, the Food and Drug Administration has not found smoked marijuana to be either safe or effective medicine for any condition.
No national medical association has come out in favour of smoked marijuana for widespread medical use. Further, many public health organizations, including the American Cancer Society, American Glaucoma Foundation, National Pain Foundation and National Multiple Sclerosis Society, do not support smoked “medical” marijuana.
The administration’s position is clear: the medication approval process should remain above the political fray. Smoked marijuana does not meet scientific standards for safe and effective medicine, and marijuana use and distribution remain illegal under federal law for any purpose.
Like our National Drug Control Strategy, it is a position driven by evidence, not ideology. When it comes to protecting public health and public safety, the American people deserve no less.
Associate Director for Public Affairs
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Washington, Nov. 14, 2011