Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Federal Government Should Use Sound Science In Putting Forth Public Policy and Information on Medical Marijuana

But what happens when they do not? What and where is the accountability when politics is allowed to extinguish the flame of truth, when propaganda rather than sound science is allowed to rule the day, dictate policy and shape public perception? Propaganda is a strong word, and therefore one I wish to define...from my perspective, for the purpose of this article, Propaganda is selectively omitting or employing facts to persuade members of the general public to hold a specific view point. All this may not make sense if you are unaware of ASA's (Americans for Safe Access) court case in the Ninth Circuit Court that was heard yesterday. At question...the Federal Government's wrongful position in public discourse that there are no Medical Benefits to be found in Cannabis (marijuana).

In the immediate case, the ASA's challenge of Marijuana being called a Class 1 drug (which means it has no medical value) is relying upon a little known law (Data Quality Act (DQA)) that requires governmental agencies to rely upon Sound Science in effecting/shaping the governments public views/statements on any given topic. You would think this case is a closed book...we all know (even those who oppose legalization) that there is Medical Value to Marijuana. Here's the is the contention of our government (Eric Holder, Department of Justice, and most specifically, the DEA) that this law does not give citizens the right to CHALLENGE GOVERNMENT INFORMATION they believe to be inaccurate, based on faulty or unreliable data, or simply false as in the case of the DEA routinely putting out Public Service Announcements wrongfully portraying Marijuana as a drug with no social medical value to it.

The ASA's immediate lawsuit does not seek to change law, nor does it challenge the legal classification of Marijuana. What it seeks, is correction of false or misleading information that effects their clients who include seriously ill persons who have been dissuaded and/or discouraged from using Medical Marijuana by the US Department of Health and Human Services long held position that Marijuana/Cannabis the drug has no Medical Value. Interestingly, Health and Human Services declined to respond to the suit under the guise that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was/is still considering the advocacy group's (ASA) 2002 request to reconsider the status of Marijuana...if the DEA has not been capable of making a decision on a simple request in seven years, they (for political reasons) are not going to make a decision on the request. Further, there is supposed to be a certain autonomy within the various agencies of the Federal Government. A request pending with one Agency should not necessarily negate the duties and responsibilities of another agency to put forth to the public honest, sound medical information that is based upon sound science. More importantly, a request seeking to have the status/classification of a drug changed is UNRELATED to a formal request made to an agency to correct false or incorrect information.

Further, does President Obama's Executive Memo on Scientific Integrity now require the Department of Health and Human Services to correct false material facts about the Medical uses of Marijuana, and if so should ASA be allowed to move for Summary Judgement in the immediate case?


Office of
the Press Secretary
Immediate Release March 9, 2009


SUBJECT: Scientific Integrity

Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change (Think Hemp Biofuels and Composite Hemp building materials such as Hemcrete), and protection of national security.

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public. To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking. The selection of scientists and technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.

A Justice Department lawyer on Tuesday put forth the position that the law relied upon in the case does not allow citizens to seek correction of government misinformation through the judicial process, but instead lays down a perception that administrative remedies were the intended means of seeking redress and correction of misleading or fraudulent information put out by an agency of our Federal Government. It is the position of Alisa Klein, and by PROXY President Barack Obama that the Information Policy Act passed in 2000 requires only that a Federal Agency review such requests from the public. That is not exactly true...if you look at the act, it spells out certain duties and responsibilities:

(B) establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines issued under subsection (a); and

(C) report periodically to the Director –

(i) the number and nature of complaints received by the agency regarding the accuracy of information disseminated by the agency; and

(ii) how such complaints were handled by the agency. (Simply reviewing and dismissing them is inadequate.)

The language as written shows it was and is the intent of the law/statute to give citizens a means to have incorrect information essence, without specifically stating so, it envisions citizens being able to SEEK AND OBTAIN correction of information by whatever steps necessary, and if citizens are unsuccessful in getting an agency to voluntarily correct misinformation, then they are or should be free to take whatever steps necessary to obtain correction, including Legal Action. If you look at the Department of Health and Human Services actions, their own decision to SIMPLY IGNORE a request to have information corrected, the affected clients that ASA represents were left with no recourse but to take further legal action in preserving their rights as outlined in the words, "allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information" memorialized above. If President Barack Obama were an honorable man, he could easily resolve this issue, make the legal case mute by ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to correct the information. He so far has not done so, leaving no choice but to assume he is a dishonorable man.

The case, from my perspective turns on this...The DOJ wrongfully claims their client's duties and responsibility under the law in question end with a REVIEW OF SUCH REQUESTS (emphasis added), while the above passage makes it abundantly clear that our Congress expected Agencies to take whatever steps were necessary in correcting incorrect information.

The attorney, Alan Morrison, for ASA rightfully argued that the governments contention would defacto make the law meaningless, a red herring with no teeth...I would argue the teeth are clearly there, would state it is the intention of Congress and the law to allow citizens LEGAL RECOURSE if necessary in having false or inaccurate information corrected. It is noted here, that the Department of Health and Human Services did not conduct a review of the information in question, nor make any effort to correct any misleading, inaccurate or untruthful information, thus putting them in violation of the law/statute.

President Obama in his memo spells out certain duties and responsibilities for Federal Agencies, and has gone further in public statements in defining his expectations as America's Chief Executive Officer.

We expect the National Institutes of Health to keep America at the forefront of medical research, and work toward a cure for cancer in our time. And for as long as I am President, these agencies will be led by exceptional individuals who stand on the side of the American people; who push politics aside in favor of proven science; who eschew stale ideology for sound ideas and a focus on what works.

This and other comments by the President have supposedly changed the playing field, seem to put a duty and responsibility on Federal Agencies to come clean, to bring forth and shed light on truth, even when it comes to Medical Marijuana. In this world, at this important time in history, the lies about Marijuana and Industrial Hemp cannot stand. We need to pull back the curtain, need to put Medical Marijuana on the table as we seek to cure cancer, need to look at what Hemp has to offer in solving Global Warming and in creating a sustainable world. The President has called his agencies to action, dictated that they restore public faith by being forthright and honest in their public discourse, in the information they put out to the masses. The Data Quality Act provides a valuable took in seeking out truth, for only with truth can we have Justice and Liberty for all.

Win or lose in the Ninth Circuit Court, one thing is certain...the law requires, in fact MANDATES that false information be corrected. Let us hope that the case in question is reinstated, but if it is not, the Medical Marijuana Community (420) needs to drown various agencies of the Federal Government in citizen requests until such time as this wrong is righted. 25-50 million Americans smoke marijuana at least once a month. If each and every one of us wrote a letter demanding correction of false statements, we have the power to bring the entire Federal Government to a grinding halt until they CORRECT THE RECORD. We talk about a is the truth...with our pens, we can START THE REVOLUTION. Even one million certified letters a month coming into Federal Agencies WOULD CRIPPLE THEM!


  1. Thank You so much for writing this! It is invaluable information and I will be sure to pass your link on.

    I wonder if the same arguments can be applied to Canadian Law? We are fighting Bill C-15 here, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing. Growing even ONE Cannabis Plant can incarcerate for 6-9 months.

  2. These falsehoods (about marijuana being medically useless, and beyond that dangerous) need to be corrected as a matter of public record.

    As part of marijuana truth and reconciliation, those responsible for fomenting and promulgating these falsehoods should be called upon to issue apologies to the public.

    And those who have been imprisoned for medical marijuana -- both patients and caregivers -- should be released and receive reparations.

  3. Thanks for the comments you two. Mary Jane, would love having a Canandian Blogger in our stable, if you get this comment, email me if you might be interested. You can find me email on our website at

    Alapoet...I think reparations when one is imprisoned because the government has perpetrated a falsehood could act as a great deterent.

  4. The TRUTH is that Potheads are juvenile, annoying twats.

  5. Thought about deleting Maven's comment, but it is a perfect example of the stupidity of the other side.