Cal Tech Physicist John H. Schwartz: Federal Government Obstructs Science to Deny Benefits of Medical Marijuana

by Colonel on February 26, 2013

“During an address before a medical marijuana conference Friday, John H. Schwartz explained how the DEA and NIDA act as a “tag team” to censor science, with NIDA holding a monopoly over legal access to cannabis for research, and the DEA refusing to reconsider the drug’s designation in the Controlled Substances Act as a dangerous substance with no medical value on the basis that sufficient research does not exist. He alleges that the government has blocked research even though it has long been aware of marijuana’s potential to serve many medical benefits including shrink aggressive cancer cells is because it might “send the wrong message to children”:

The most blatant example of this behavior came last year, when NIDA blocked an FDA-approved clinical trial testing marijuana as a remedy for post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. It’s especially sad to note that the study participants were veterans, with PTSD deemed untreatable by other means. After 12 years of war, this is how we treat them. […]

As a physicist, I can assure you that this not how physics works. … We are all expected to act like grownups and accept it gracefully as experiments prove our favorite theories are false. In physics, unlike marijuana policy, we consider the right message to send to be the message that’s true. […]

Consider what American science might look like if all research were run like marijuana research is being run now. Suppose the Institute for Creation Science were put in charge of approving paleontology digs and the science of human evolution. Imagine what would happen to the environment if we gave coal and oil companies the power to block any climate research they didn’t like.

Of course, as Schwartz acknowledges, interest groups such as coal and oil companies often do have a significant influence over policy decisions, regardless of the underlying science. Even blocking research outright — a much less common tactic — is not unique to marijuana. The NRA has had tremendous success, for example, in blocking gun violence prevention research. It remains, however, a uniquely insidious tactic that Schwartz says harkens back to the era of witch hunts. And as Schwartz points out, organizations tasked with “drug enforcement” and battling “drug abuse” are not well-positioned to remain neutral on the best way to handle drug policy.

” — Nicole Flatow, Copyright 2013 Center for American Progress Action Fund

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