ASA: ‘Superstring Theory’ Co-founder Asks Feds for Sound Science on Medical Marijuana

01 Nov, 2012

By Americans For Safe Access

Editors Note: Image of Gerard Butler used gratuitously, and without permission.

Washington, D.C. — Taking his first public political stance, John Schwarz, co-founder of ‘Superstring Theory’ and a Theoretical Physics professor at California Institute of Technology, published a commentary piece today in the Huffington Post, urging the federal government to put aside the politics surrounding medical marijuana and pay attention to the abundance of scientific evidence. Schwarz has also invited his fellow scientists to join him in co-signing an open letter to President Obama at ScienceInPolicy.com, calling on him to uphold his promises to put science before politics.

Schwarz points to President Obama’s emphasis on what he called, “free and open scientific inquiry,” and asks “Why hasn’t the long-running controversy over medical marijuana been resolved using science?” In 2009, as one of the hallmark actions of his administration, Obama issued a memorandum to all executive departments and agencies, explaining that “Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health…”

Recognizing that Obama “has improved the role of science in the decision-making process in many areas of government,” Schwarz writes that his administration “is ignoring scientists’ voices on medical marijuana policy.” Schwarz admits that a Romney Administration would “probably undo” what progress Obama has made in improving the role of science in policy decisions, but Schwarz laments that, “the federal government ignores scientific facts accepted around the globe – not to mention the will of the American people – to cling to outdated ideological policies and restrict marijuana research.”

President Obama’s March 2009 memorandum was followed up with another “Scientific Integrity” memorandum, issued on December 17, 2010 by John P. Holdren, the White House Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The memorandum stated that, “Successful application of science in public policy depends on the integrity of the scientific process both to ensure the validity of the information itself and to engender public trust in Government.” The memorandum directed government agencies to: “1. Ensure a culture of scientific integrity;” “2. Strengthen the actual and perceived credibility of Government research;” “3. Facilitate the free flow of scientific and technological information;” and “4. Establish principles for conveying scientific and technological information to the public.” These tenets were subsequently adopted by numerous federal departments and agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is responsible for reviewing the scientific evidence on medical marijuana.

Instead of adhering to these principles, however, the Obama Administration has blocked research into the therapeutic benefits of marijuana and upheld the federal government’s standing position that marijuana should remain a Schedule I substance. Unique and prohibitively high standards in the U.S., required of no other Schedule I substance, has severely hindered medical marijuana research compared to other countries around the world. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is the gatekeeper for the supply of research-grade marijuana and has a bias for studies that investigate the supposed negative effects of marijuana. Scientists trying to study medical marijuana claim that NIDA and other federal agencies have rigged the research application process.

The Schwarz op-ed and open letter for scientists comes as the federal government is being sued over its current classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical value. Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, a case that is asking the court — based on overwhelming scientific evidence — to order the federal government to reclassify marijuana for medical use, in either Schedule III, IV or V. A ruling in the case is expected sometime next year.

For more information:

John Schwarz op-ed in the Huffington Post: www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-john-schwarz/medical-marijuana_b_2050358.html
Open Letter from Scientists to President Obama: ScienceInPolicy.com
December 2010 White House ‘Scientific Integrity’ memo: www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/scientific-integrity-memo-12172010.pdf

www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org


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Written by Charmie Gholson

Charmie Gholson is a national drug policy reform advocate, a working journalist, mother of three sons and oldest of three daughters.

Charmie is the Founder of Michigan Moms United -an umbrella organization that works to give voice to families caught in the criminal justice system, including the failed drug war and mental health issues. Their Safety Campaign was launched July 2012 and works to reform Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws, create drug task force accountability and work with CPS to minimize state created, family trauma.

Charmie previously worked as a staff writer for LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of law enforcers who speak out against and want to end the failed drug war.

She is still owner of The Midwest Cultivator. If you would like to purchase her half of the business, email her at okisay@yahoo.com

From 2003-2009, Charmie created, produced and hosted Renegade Solutions, a Native Rights public affairs radio show that reported on environmental and social justice issues, including drug policy reform. She has written for many national publications, including The New York Times Magazine, and was a columnist for Current Magazine for ten years. She also was a regular contributor to The Ann Arbor Observer before she became obsessed with ending the drug war.

Charmie regularly writes about and speaks on a wide range of topics: how and why to end the failed drug war, the rise of paramilitary drug raids, policing for profit-civil asset forfeiture, taking the profit out of the drug war, how to move from being an activist to an ambassador, how the drug war has skewed police priorities, and minimizing potentially dangerous interactions with police. She believes that all marijuana use is medicinal, and that legalizing marijuana is an essential step towards a return to traditional medicines and healing.

About the author

Charmie Gholson

Charmie Gholson is a national drug policy reform advocate, a working journalist, mother of three sons and oldest of three daughters. Charmie is the Founder of Michigan Moms United -an umbrella organization that works to give voice to families caught in the criminal justice system, including the failed drug war and mental health issues. Their Safety Campaign was launched July 2012 and works to reform Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws, create drug task force accountability and work with CPS to minimize state created, family trauma. Charmie previously worked as a staff writer for LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of law enforcers who speak out against and want to end the failed drug war. She is still owner of The Midwest Cultivator. If you would like to purchase her half of the business, email her at okisay@yahoo.com From 2003-2009, Charmie created, produced and hosted Renegade Solutions, a Native Rights public affairs radio show that reported on environmental and social justice issues, including drug policy reform. She has written for many national publications, including The New York Times Magazine, and was a columnist for Current Magazine for ten years. She also was a regular contributor to The Ann Arbor Observer before she became obsessed with ending the drug war. Charmie regularly writes about and speaks on a wide range of topics: how and why to end the failed drug war, the rise of paramilitary drug raids, policing for profit-civil asset forfeiture, taking the profit out of the drug war, how to move from being an activist to an ambassador, how the drug war has skewed police priorities, and minimizing potentially dangerous interactions with police. She believes that all marijuana use is medicinal, and that legalizing marijuana is an essential step towards a return to traditional medicines and healing.

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2 Comments

  1. November 02, 2012

    Hello, just wanted to say, I loved this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

  2. November 09, 2012

    Thanks for posting this.. It’s been a pleasure to read :)

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