Berkeley Advocacy Group To Petition HHS on Medical Marijuana Policy
Berkeley-based Americans for Safe Access on Monday announced plans to petition HHS to "admit publicly that marijuana is routinely used for medical treatment" and that the agency's stance that marijuana has no accepted medical use violates federal law, which requires federal agencies to base policies on scientific fact, the Oakland Tribune reports. ASA says that established research, federal reports and patients' anecdotal evidence have all shown that marijuana is effective at easing pain, nausea, loss of appetite and spasticity in patients. The group charges that in maintaining its stance, which was based on a review by FDA, HHS has placed politics ahead of science and has provided inaccurate information to the public on the value of marijuana as medicine.
ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer said, "For 30 years, our government has denied the medical research, but now we have law that requires them to use sound science." ASA announced its effort at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. (Richman, Oakland Tribune, 10/5).
In related news, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to pass a law that allows users of medicinal marijuana to possess up to three pounds of the drug, the San Jose Mercury News reports. A state law that took effect Jan. 1 allows users to possess eight ounces of medicinal marijuana but gives counties discretion to raise the limit. Three pounds of marijuana would have a street value of up to $24,000 if sold by the ounce. Santa Cruz's weight limit applies only to dried cannabis buds. Stems and seeds are not included. The new law allows qualified patients to exceed the yearly 48-ounce limit with a doctor's approval.
Dr. George Wolfe, a former county health officer, said that three pounds of processed marijuana is the equivalent of about 3.7 marijuana cigarettes per day.
According to the Mercury News, the county's new law, which is modeled on guidelines developed by Sonoma County, is one of only a few of such regulations passed by counties (McLaughlin, San Jose Mercury News, 10/6).