Twenty years ago this week, the Drug Enforcement Administration's chief administrative law judge issued a landmark ruling on marijuana — but our government has ignored this historic decision since the day it was issued.
"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care ... The evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record."
— DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young, September 6, 1988
Judge Young had just finished holding extensive hearings, in response to a petition asking for marijuana to be moved from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act, which bars medical use, to a lower schedule that would permit physician prescriptions. He heard from an array of expert witnesses, generating thousands of pages of documentation.
Young — the chief administrative law judge in the top federal agency responsible for enforcing our drug laws — laid out his findings in a detailed, 69-page ruling, walking readers through the scientific evidence in detail. He concluded that the law didn't just permit moving marijuana to Schedule II, but required it.
The response? Six years after top DEA officials rejected Judge Young's recommendation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the agency did had the right to ignore its own administrative law judge.
And as a result, seriously ill medical marijuana patients continue to be arrested, terrorized, and even have their children taken away — cancer patients living in fear of arrest for using marijuana to quell their nausea and help them keep food down ... AIDS patients using medical marijuana to ease the pain and nausea that too often are side effects of the drugs that keep them alive, terrified of losing their homes if caught ... tens of thousands of people turned into criminals simply for following their own doctors' advice.
Will you help? MPP is systematically working to end this war — state by state, vote by vote. We are making progress every day, but we need your help.
Among other work, your donation will help us pass a medical marijuana initiative in Michigan this November 4, making Michigan the 13th medical marijuana state and the first in the Midwest … adding one more state to the growing number demanding a marijuana policy that works for Americans, not against them.
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P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2008. This means that your donation today will be doubled.
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