MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Feds Consider ‘Supervised Use’
In what would be a "major reversal" in government policy, the "Justice Department is considering whether to permit government- supervised use of marijuana as a treatment for certain sick people," USA Today reports. The move would make marijuana available to AIDS and cancer patients around the country. Philadelphia District Court Judge Marvin Katz proposed supervised use in an attempt to settle a lawsuit in which 160 plaintiffs contend that the "laws prohibiting marijuana use are unconstitutional." The Justice Department requested 60 days to consider the policy change. Justice Department spokesperson Gregory King said, "There are provisions in the law that allow for scientific research ... under scientific conditions." King added, however, that the department has consistently "taken the position that marijuana must go through the same process all medications go through prior to their approval ... to be cleared by the [Food and Drug Administration]." Dave Fratello, spokesperson for the Los-Angeles-based Americans for Medical Rights, which supports doctor-approved marijuana use, said, "This is definitely new. This could change the entire trend of federal policy" (Willing, 11/3). However, congressional opposition to medical marijuana use will be strong. Commenting on today's referendum in the District of Columbia, which will not be certified no matter what the outcome because of congressional intervention, Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) said, "I'd do anything I could to block it, to stop it. We're going to have to pass a federal law on this so-called medicinal marijuana." Calling medicinal marijuana use in San Francisco "a joke" and "an absolute farce," Faircloth added, "We are going to have to outlaw it" (Keary, Washington Times, 11/3). Click medical marijuana for past CHL coverage of this issue.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.