Friday, March 09, 2007

Reformers beat DEA in court. What now?

A few weeks ago the DEA's administrative law judge ruled that the federal government's monopoly on growing marijuana for research purposes is unnecessary, harmful, and should end. The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by UMass-Amherst professor Lyle Craker, who wants to grow research grade marijuana for medical trials. Of course, the DEA doesn't like that; but their own law judge disagrees.

Unfortunately, DEA is totally free to disregard the judge's ruling and maintain the government's marijuana monopoly. It will be interesting to see what will happen now that the ball is in the DEA's hands, especially if Congress gets involved and exerts some pressure.

This is a somewhat complicated case, but the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) does a good job of explaining everything in this podcast. Give it a listen, whydontcha?

A full background on the case is here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Doctors oppose drug testing (big surprise!)

In a move that is sure to shock the nationwide community of drug testing supporters, who are either

  • completely lacking common sense or
  • financially interested in what has become a booming drug testing industry,
the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report condemning drug testing of youngsters today.

It's baffling enough that people can continue to support the policy of prohibition despite its very obvious track record of failure and counter-productivity. Yet, I can understand how a person who isn't much interested in public policy or in drugs (both of which are significant areas of study for me and many others in the drug policy reform movement) could reach the conclusion that repealing drug prohibition would bring about harm to society, as demonstrably false as it may be.

However, I cannot fathom how people could take the very down-to-earth example of drug testing, which deals with issues like their own children and communities, and not see how dangerous this practice is.

I am aware of no serious medical groups who have sanctioned the practice. In fact, I have never heard a sensible argument for it whatsoever!

I took the liberty of emailing Steven Steiner of DAMMADD, who has previously made pro-testing comments, asking him what he thinks:

Hello Mr. Steiner. Long time no speak.

As a drug policy reformer and user of some drugs which are currently illegal, it goes without saying that I disagree with much of your ideas regarding our State and Nation's drug laws.

However, I am curious about how you might feel about the recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics advising parents against student drug testing.

Even if you support the drug war generally, are you open to the possibility that testing young people for drugs can have disastrously counter-productive consequences?

Thanks and let's try to keep the lines of communication open.