Pages tagged "Gil Kerlikowske"

  • Obama Stance on Safe Access Disappoints Veterans

    On Memorial Day, a grass-roots group of veterans expressed their disappointment in the Obama administration's stance on access to medical cannabis. Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access petitioned the White House to allow veterans access to medical cannabis to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, receiving over 8000 signatures on WhiteHouse.gov. The reply was disappointing.

    President Obama's Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske introduced his long-delayed response by lamenting "substance abuse" issues that trouble many veterans, and then asserted that medical marijuana cannot treat any symptom. This from an administration that refuses to allow research on the health benefits of cannabis!

    Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access were very disappointed in the administration's response - both that access to medical cannabis will not be provided to veterans of America's armed forces, and the tone of the Drug Czar's long-delayed response. They said in a statement:
    We Veterans petitioned the Obama Administration to: "Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans access to medical marijuana to treat their PTSD."

    The White House response to our petition was very disappointing. We asked for a change in policy. To have our petition answered by the drug czar,an ex policeman, is most inappropriate given the drug czar is bound by law to ONLY discuss current law and has no power to discuss policy change with the public. Even the lowest ranking staffer at the White House or anyone from the Veterans Health Authority would have been more appropriate.

    Al Byrne, retired Naval Officer and co-founder of VMCA, was blunt in his assessment of the White House concern for injured Veterans:

    "Vets have used cannabis for PTS since the Revolutionary War. We know what we need and to be told by our President, the Commander in Chief, that he does not care about those he has sent to war by denying medicine to the wounded is unconscionable."

    The Department of Veterans Affairs is also now in direct conflict with the White House.

    According to the Veterans Affairs, Undersecretary of Health in correspondence with our Executive Director, Michael Krawitz: "The provider (VA) will take the use of medical marijuana into account in all prescribing decisions, just as the provider would for any other medication.

    On Memorial Day, all Americans acknowledge the sacrifices our veterans have made for our freedom and security. President Obama missed an opportunity to value veterans' sacrifices by allowing them safe access to all therapies recommended by their doctors.
  • Tennessee Congressman Calls Federal Medical Marijuana Policy “Misguided”



    Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) wrote a letter to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske on Monday, urging a change to the country’s drug policy with regard to marijuana. In addition to calling the federal policy on medical marijuana “misguided,” Cohen said, “Marijuana does not belong on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.”
    There is no evidence that marijuana has the same addictive qualities or damaging consequences as these harder drugs and it should not be treated as such.

    Cohen, who has taken FBI Director Robert Mueller to task over the federal government’s policy, called for compassion in his letter to Kerlikowske:
    We should not deny the thousands of Americans who rely on marijuana to treat the effects of AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses the benefits that marijuana provides.

    Cohen also described a personal experience he had with medical marijuana:
    I have personally witnessed a close friend who was suffering in the last days of pancreatic cancer benefit tremendously from smoking marijuana. It increased his appetite, eased his pain, and allowed him to smile. It allowed him to deal with death with a little more dignity.

    Fortunately, there is a bill currently in Congress that would reclassify medical marijuana. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is mobilizing people to urge their Members of Congress to pass HR 1983, a bill that would reclassify marijuana to Schedule III and allow states to pass their own laws.

    ASA has also taken the Obama Administration to court over its refusal to reclassify marijuana. After a 2002 petition filed by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) was denied earlier this year, ASA and the CRC filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit. Advocates are hopeful that either Congress or the courts will push the federal government to address medical marijuana with a sensible public health policy.