In the aftermath of this Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on a medical marijuana case, the most vocal opponents of sick and dying patients’ right to have access to their physician-approved medicine have launched a propaganda campaign full of misinformation.
“It’s outrageous that the Drug Free America Foundation is spreading lies and accusing sick people of being criminals when they’re just trying to ease their suffering,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “How can they look at Angel Raich and the overwhelming scientific evidence and say that marijuana has no medical benefit?”
Calvina Fay, the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, has made a number of misleading statements about the issue. A select few:
- Fay: Marijuana has no medical benefits. “We don’t want truly sick and dying people to be scammed into thinking they are being medically treated by smoking pot. We believe that people who are truly sick need good, legitimate medicine” (New York Times, June 7, 2005) The truth: The medical benefits of marijuana for AIDS, cancer and other patients are well established. The Institute of Medicine has determined that nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety “all can be mitigated by marijuana.” The esteemed medical journal, The Lancet Neurology, reports that marijuana’s active components “inhibit pain in virtually every experimental pain paradigm.” In fact, seven patients receive medical cannabis legally from the U.S. government through a federal program.
- Fay: Medical groups do not support medical marijuana. “It’s not our medical groups out there saying we should legalize these drugs as a medicine” (on PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer, June 6, 2005)The truth: Health organizations supporting legal access to medical marijuana include: American Academy of HIV Medicine, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Preventive Medical Association, American Public Health Association, California Academy of Family Physicians, California Medical Association, Florida Medical Association, Lymphoma Foundation of America, New England Journal of Medicine, New York State Association of County Health Officials, New York State Hospice and Palliative Care Association, New York State Medical Society, and the Whitman-Walker Clinic.
- Fay: Medical marijuana advocates are not seeking FDA approval for marijuana because they know it won’t get it: “Why don’t they do the research and get the evidence in hand and take it to the FDA? I can tell you the answer is because they know it can’t be approved,” (on PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer, June 6, 2005) The truth: Medical marijuana advocates have submitted a third petition for marijuana rescheduling, asking for a full review of the scientific research and medical practice regarding cannabis. “No one is more eager to have the FDA do a full scientific and medical review than medical marijuana advocates,” said Steph Sherer, of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group that is part of Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis. “We submitted our last request for this three years ago, and are still waiting to hear back. We are confident that if the FDA considers the overwhelming scientific evidence, they will reclassify marijuana in recognition of its medical value, bringing long overdue safe access to medical marijuana for those who benefit from its use.”