Common Sense for Drug Policy - Link to home page

Tuesday, February 07, 2023
Search using CSDP's own search tool or use

WWW Common Sense

Home page

About CSDP

PSA Campaign

Check out these other CSDP news pages:
Anti-Drug Media Campaign
Asia and the US Drug War
Bush's Cabinet
Chronic Pain Management
Communities Against the Drug War
Conferences & Events
DARE Admits Failure
Drug Control Alternatives
Families Targeted by Drug War
Federal Drug Control Strategy
Hemp News
Heroin & Heroin Addiction Treatment
Higher Education Act (HEA) Reform
International Reform
Mandatory Minimums
Medical Marijuana
Narco-Funded Terrorism
New Mexico
New York
Pain Management
Police Shootings & Botched Raids
Prop 36
Racial Profiling
Recommended Reading
Research News
South America
Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration
United Kingdom Moves Toward Reform
United Nations: News and Reports

Drug War Facts

Research Archive

Coalition for Medical Marijuana

Managing Chronic Pain

Drug War Distortions

Safety First

Get Active!

Drug Truth Network


Drug Strategy

Drugs and Terror

Recommended Reading

Site Map

link to 
Drug War Facts - page opens in new window
in the Family

Online Drug Library

Research Resources

Contact Common Sense

Click here for more about the US Drug Control Strategy.


Kerlikowske Attempts to Correct Misleading Medical Marijuana Comments

In an August 7, 2009 KOMO News interview ("Kerlikowske: Legal Pot 'Not in My Vocabulary'"), drug czar Gil Kerlikowske tried to douse the flames ignited by a late July appearance in Freso, CA during which the drug czar flatly denied marijuana's medicinal benefits. As he told the Seattle news outlet, "I certainly said that legalization is not in the president's vocabulary nor is it in mine [...]. But the other questioin was in reference to smoked marijuana. And as we know, the FDA has not determined that smoked marijuana has a value, and this is clearly a medical question and that's where I've been leaving it." He continued, "I should have said, 'smoked' marijuana and then gone on to say that this is clearly a question that should be answered by the medical community."

However, according to Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and other drug policy reform and patients advocate groups, Kerlikowske's correction did not go far enough. As ASA stated in an August 9, 2009 Opposing Views post, "Although it's nice to see a correction to his previous statement, and leaving it to the medical community is favorable to harmful and unnecessary law enforcement actions, the Drug Czar's position is still problematic." The group explains that "Just because the FDA does not recognize the medical efficacy of smoked marijuana [...] doesn't mean that such a position is factual." Indeed. At the moment, ASA "has a pending case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which argues against this assertion and uses a mountain of evidence to illustrate marijuana's medical efficacy." They provide not only links within the above cited statement but also follow it with sound medical research going back as far as 1999.

Moreover, ASA rightly contends that "the medical community has not offered any substantive alternatives" to smoked marijuana therapy. The government's go-to defense on this issue - Marinol, a pharmaceutical pill comprised of synthetic THC - "does not provide an adequate delivery system for people with nausea, takes too long to go take effect, is difficult to regulate dosages, and offers inferior efficacy to smoked marijuana for most patients that use it."

In concluding their rebuttal, ASA draws a parallel between Kerlikowske's oft-employed diatribe against prescription drug abuse (which he also discussed during the KOMO interview). As they state, "If the Drug Czar were to put two-and-two together, he'd find that many patients who use medical marijuana do so in order to scale down or completely eliminate the use of toxic pharmaceutical medication." The group then poses a pointed question: "If the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) can conclude as far back as 1988 that marijuana is 'one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man,' why can't we see fit to recognize its medical benefits and allow patients in need to make use of it?"

Back to top

Save This Page to

Home Drug War Facts Public Service
Managing Chronic Pain
Get Active About Common Sense Addict In
The Family
Effective Drug
Control Strategy
Drug War Distortions Recommended

copyright © 2000-2007, Common Sense for Drug Policy
Kevin B. Zeese, President -- Mike Gray, Chairman -- Robert E. Field, Co-Chairman -- Melvin R. Allen, Board Member -- Doug McVay, Director of Research & Editor
1377-C Spencer Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603
tel 717-299-0600 - fax 717-393-4953
Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009   ~   Accessed: 3663 times
Email us