CONTACT SAM: Marijuana research overhaul - Dr. Christian Thurstone

Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, today released a new report, “Researching Marijuana’s Potential Responsibly: A Six-Point Plan” and called for a series of recommendations aimed at overhauling how marijuana is researched in the United States.

The report — which SAM co-founder and honorary board member Patrick J. Kennedy delivered to Congress — firmly underscores that marijuana legalization is not necessary to research the drug or use it in cases of compassionate care for the seriously ill.

Dr. Christian Thurstone, whose website you’re reading, serves as a science adviser to SAM, which issued the following statement:

(WASHINGTON DC)-Given the increasing interest and demand for research into marijuana’s therapeutic potential, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization, today released a new report, “Researching Marijuana’s Medical Potential Responsibly: A Six Point Plan,” and called for a series of recommendations.

Today, SAM Honorary Board Member Patrick Kennedy delivered the report to Congress.

Specifically, the six point plan recommends that the federal government:

  • (1) Allow DEA/NIDA to issue multiple authorizations for growing marijuana for research purposes;
  • (2) Waive DEA registration requirements for handling CBD;
  • (3) Eliminate the Public Health Service (PHS) review for marijuana research applications;
  • (4) Establish compassionate research programs for the seriously ill;
  • (5) Begin federal-state partnerships to allow a pure CBD product to be dispensed/explored by board-certified neurologists and/or epileptologists to appropriate patients under a research program;
  • (6) Shut down rogue “medical marijuana” companies that do not play by the rules

“These recommendations can be enacted relatively easily by HHS and DOJ. Congress could also help prod them along,” remarked Dr. Stuart Gitlow, the Immediate Past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Vice-Chair of SAM. “It’s time we do the research and, importantly, separate the medical issue from the legalization issue.”

In recent years, numerous companies have profited off of “compassion” without having to play by the rules, the report says. These recommendations would allow real research to move forward while halting rogue companies.

“For too long, simplistic and dangerous recommendations, such as marijuana legalization or even rescheduling, have been presented as the only ways to do legitimate research on marijuana’s therapeutic potential,” remarked SAM President Kevin A. Sabet, a former White House drug policy advisor. “But there are so many things the government could do to offer the seriously ill experimental medications while not endangering public health through legalization.”

Smart Approaches to Marijuana has four main goals:

  • To inform public policy with the science of today’s marijuana.
  • To prevent the establishment of “Big Marijuana” — and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana’s medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
  • To have an adult conversation about reducing the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.

About Christine Tatum

Christine Tatum is a veteran journalist whose communications and market intel firm, Media Salad, Inc., helps companies and nonprofit organizations win business and stay ahead of their competitors. Her professional stops include the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, the (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Daily Herald and the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. Her work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

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