13 Hamline J. Pub. L. & Pol'y 117 (1992)
The Medical Use of Marijuana: The Politics of Medicine

handle is hein.journals/hplp13 and id is 123 raw text is: Current Public Law and Policy Issues

The Medical Use of Marijuana: The Politics of Medicine
I. INTRODUCTION
The United States government grows marijuana and hands out pre-
rolled joints to seriously ill patients, yet it feverishly denies the drug has
a legitimate medical use.' The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
maintains that making marijuana a prescription drug would send the wrong
message to this country's youth, but cocaine and morphine are prescription
drugs.2 Although the government claims the vast majority of American
physicians are against the medical use of marijuana, in a recent survey
nearly fifty percent of the responding physicians said they would prescribe
the drug to cancer patients.3 An administrative law judge for the DEA,
after two years of hearings, concluded that it would be unreasonable, ar-
bitrary, and capricious for the DEA not to change marijuana's status.4
Despite the overwhelming evidence, however, the government has re-
mained entrenched in its policy opposing medical marijuana.
The debate over marijuana was historically, and is currently, political
rather than scientific. The federal government's current reluctance to ac-
cept a legitimate medical use for marijuana flows directly from the exhaus-
tive efforts it has expended over the past five and a half decades to prohibit
and discourage recreational marijuana use.
This comment will examine the history of marijuana policy-making in
the United States, the current call for marijuana as medicine, and the tac-
tics used to stifle that call. Federal and state cases and statutes will be ana-
lyzed in an attempt to clear some of the confusion which necessarily
surrounds a decision based upon illogical reasoning and political self-pres-
ervation. Finally, this article will offer a remedy for this clearly unjust
situation.
II. BACKGROUND
A. Early Medicinal Use of Marijuana
Physicians in the United States recognized the therapeutic potential of
1. Michael Isikoff, HHS to Phase Out Marijuana Program - Officials Fear Sending 'Bad Signal'
by Giving Drug to Seriously Ill, WASH. POST, June 22, 1991, at A14.
2. Id.
3. RonaldJ. Ostrow, Forty-Eight Percent of Cancer Specialists in Study Would Prescribe Pot, L.A.
TIMES, May 1, 1991, at A12.
4. 2 ROBERT C. RANDALL, MARIJUANA, MEDICINE, AND THE LAW 445 (1989).

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?