MEDICAL MARIJUANA: San Mateo Will Launch Research Effort
San Mateo County Supervisors voted yesterday "to seek federal approval for a major clinical study of marijuana's medicinal benefits," the San Jose Mercury News reports. The three-year study is projected to cost $500,000 and would evaluate the medical effects of marijuana on 500 to 1,000 terminally ill participants. County officials said they believe "a first-class, strictly-controlled study" is one of the few ways to "convince the federal government to reclassify marijuana as a prescription medication for seriously ill people." San Mateo Health Director Margaret Taylor said, "We see this as the best and only alternative to legitimizing the use of medical marijuana" (Gathright, 5/13). The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the officials also "see the proposed three-year study as a way to provide marijuana to seriously ill people without the legal complications" that have faced cannabis clubs attempting to provide marijuana under the state's Proposition 215, "which legalized the use of pot if recommended by a doctor." Supervisor Mike Nevin said that if the study does show the drug "relieves suffering," he hopes it "would lead to changes in state and federal law."
Pot Of Gold
"How people would be chosen and where officials would get the pot are some of the many issues that remain to be worked out," according to Dr. Scott Morrow, a San Mateo County health officer. Once the study's results are recorded, the researchers "plan to publish the results of the study in a peer-reviewed medical journal." According to the Chronicle, the county has $150,000 set aside for the study in this year's budget and another $200,000 in next year's budget. The remaining $150,000 would have to come from federal and local grants (Wilson, 5/13).