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Chapter 5 Introduction PDF Print E-mail
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Grey Literature - DPF: Drug Prohibition & Conscience of Nations 1990
Monday, 01 October 1990 00:00

The ultimate irony of the drug prohibition is that it fails to restrain social druguse and succeeds in depriving the desperately ill of adequate medical care.

—Robert Randall

Within a very short time, I became known as the Michigan "Green Cross," and was nicknamed "Grandma Marijuana." Doctors in several surrounding countries began sending patients to me for help.
—Mm Nutt

NORML and ACT have attempted to perpetrate a dangerous and cruel hoax on the American public by claiming marijuana has currently accepted medical uses.
—John Lawn

Marijuana, a medicine that has relieved the suffer-ing of millions of people for thousands of years, is prohibited for medical use throughout most of the world. Doctors who would ordinarily prescribe natural marijuana to patients suffering from de-bilitating diseases including cancer, multiple scle-rosis, glaucoma, and AIDS, are unable to do so for fear of criminal prosecution. Subsequently, many doctors quietly suggest that their patients obtain their medicine on the street Thus, today, thou-sands of decent doctors are being forced to engage in a quiet conspiracy with their patients to violate the law.

As a result of the doctor-patient conspiracy, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws pioneered a broad campaign to medicalize marijuana. In recent years, that campaign, which has involved the extensive use of legal action, has been spearheaded by the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics. The Drug Policy Foundation, founded in 1987, also became a strong supporter of this compassionate effort to ease the suffering of millions of seriously ill Americans. (In fact, both editors have served as counsel in recent action to once again medicalize marijuana).

The medical marijuana suit, active throughout 1987-88, involved extensive hearings before the chief administrative law judge of the Drug En-forcement Administration. Never before has the nature and safety of a drug been subjected to a more searching judicial inquiry replete with cross-examination. In September of 1988, DEA Judge Young's decision vindicated almost every important point made by the petitioners for the change of medical marijuana laws.

While not binding on President Reagan or DEA Administrator John Lawn, Francis L. Young's carefully reasoned decision provided an historic opportunity for a touch of compromise and com-passion in the drug war. Perhaps President Reagan could have said as he left office in January 1989 that while the decision made him uncomfortable, the judge's ruling was based on an impartial hearing and should therefore be upheld by the U.S. government. However, the Reagan adminis-tration ignored the Young decision and the op-portunity to make an exception that would help many ill people, especially elderly citizens so far removed from the drug trade.

In December of 1989, shortly before his retire-ment, DEA Administrator John Lawn overruled Francis Youngs's petition to make natural mari-juana a medicine. The order could have simply explained in civilized terms why the U.S. govern-ment had decided to come down on the other side of the argument. Instead, John Lawn issued a statement that rates as the most uncivilized judicial or quasi-judicial decision we have encountered in our combined 55 years of legal experience.