The FDA said in a statement that it and other agencies with the Health and Human Services Department had "concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use."
A number of states have passed legislation allowing marijuana use for medical purposes, but the FDA said, "These measures are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA approval process and are proven safe and effective."
The statement contradicts a 1999 finding from the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, which reported that "marijuana's active components are potentially effective in treating pain, nausea, the anorexia of AIDS wasting and other symptoms, and should be tested rigorously in clinical trials."
Bruce Mirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said Thursday: "If anybody needed proof that the FDA has become totally politicized, this is it. This isn't a scientific statement; it's a political statement."
Mirken said "a rabid congressional opponent of medical marijuana," Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., asked the FDA to make the statement.
Souder, chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on drug policy, has said the promotion of medical marijuana "is simply a red herring for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Studies have continually rejected the notion that marijuana is suitable for medical use because it adversely impacts concentration and memory, the lungs, motor coordination and the immune system."
The FDA statement noted "there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful." It also said, "There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana."
Mirken responded, "There is abundant evidence that marijuana can help cancer patients, multiple sclerosis patients and AIDS patients. There is no scientific doubt that marijuana relieves nausea, vomiting, certain kinds of pain and other symptoms that don't respond well to conventional drugs, and does it more safely than other drugs.
"For the FDA to ignore all that evidence is embarrassing," Mirken said. "They should be red-faced."
'The Freedom to Garden Human Rights Restoration Act of 2014'
An Ordinance to restore the natural Human Right to grow and use plants for the basic necessities of life.
Whereas in the State of California, the People of the County of Lake do hereby Find, Declare and Ordain as follows:
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people to reaffirm and reestablish the fundamental human rights with which they are naturally endowed, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's origins entitle them, and to recognize a decent respect for the opinions of humankind, requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to come forward toward the reestablishment of those rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all humans beings are created equal. That human beings are naturally endowed with certain rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to re-declare and reestablish the inherent human rights that would intrinsically correct such governmental negligence, and to reconstitute such in a form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Therefore, in accordance with the 9th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America,
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.",
and also in accordance with the California State Constitution, Article 1 Declaration of Rights, Section 21.:
..."This declaration of rights may not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.",
and, also as consistent with County of Lake Ordinance No. 2267 in relation to private property rights, and, whereas disregard and contempt for certain human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humankind, and, whereas in a world which human beings endeavor to enjoy freedom of speech and belief, and where freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of peoples everywhere, be it here proclaimed that it has become necessary to reaffirm and specifically re-constitute the self evident inherent freedom to grow and use plants as described herein:
Section 1., Findings:
That human beings are naturally endowed with the fundamental self evident right to have and grow the natural plants of this earth, and the naturally occurring seeds thereof, to be used for their own needs as individuals in pursuit of life and in effort to live, and that such basic human rights have been recognized and acknowledged to exist, and that these rights are held in perpetuity outside of the constitutional responsibility of a government to protect an individual's right to engage in commerce.
That all County of Lake residents residing within the unincorporated areas of the County who exercise the rights described in Section 1. of this Act at their residence within said area, and are compliant with Section 2.(a), and are gardening outside (outdoors) or in a greenhouse (and not withstanding any generally applicable urgency ordinance(s) specifically relating to water conservation), are, as accorded in the paragraphs above, necessarily exempt from any County permitting or other County ordinances that would limit an individual's home gardening efforts or abilities in conjunction with Section 1.
That any law, to the extent that it would specifically deny or disparage the human rights as described in Section 1. of this Act is unconstitutional by both the Federal Constitutions 9th Amendment, and also by the State Constitutions Article 1 Declaration of Rights, Section 21, and by the fact that such self evident human rights are held in perpetuity by the People.
Section 2., Responsibilities:
Should neighbor complaints that are not related to Section 2.(a) herein, or that are not related to a specific medically verifiable toxic health risk to the public arise as an official complaint to the County as a result of an individual(s) exercising the rights as described in Section 1., and Section 1.(a), (and not withstanding any effected party choosing to seek remedy and or reparations by way of litigation through civil proceedings), all the effected parties shall be directed to mediation provided for by the County of Lake, and if resolution between the effected parties cannot be achieved in a reasonable effort to mediate (to be determined by the appointed mediator), the effected parties shall then continue mediation at their own expense (to be equally divided between the effected parties) until a resolution between the parties can be agreed upon, or until one of the effected parties withdraws from the mediation.
All who exercise the rights described in Section 1., and Section 1.(a) of this Act, shall take reasonable care to prevent environmental destruction, and are responsible to mitigate any possible foreseen negative impacts on the natural environments, and all persons who neglect such practices shall be subject to the authority designated under Section 2.(b) herein, but such remedies are to be used to help individuals come into compliance with this section and not to unreasonably burden individuals who exercise the rights described in Section 1.
The County of Lake Environmental Health Department shall administer over individual circumstances that may arise related to Section 2. and Section 2.(a) herein, but all such administrative authority and compliance inquiries shall be restricted to circumstances where a verifiable neighbor (or resident of the county) complaint in writing and signed by the complainant has been officially registered with the county.
Section 3., Special Circumstances:
Any law, to the extent that it would specifically deny or disparage the Human Rights as described in Section 1. of this Act, (and not withstanding an individual in violation of using illegal gardening chemicals, including but not limited to, certain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers), is to be set aside unless it can be determined that the individual circumstance is occurring within the context of "commerce" related activities as defined herein, or if an individual's violation(s) of Section 2.(a) of this Act are to the extent of violating a criminal statute.
This Act shall not apply in circumstances where (a) private rental or lease agreement(s) (contract) exist(s) pertaining to the occupancy and or use of any private land unless such is otherwise specifically enumerated within said agreement(s) (contract), or unless the agreement(s) (contract) does not specify any conditions or agreement pertaining to outside (or greenhouse) home gardening.
Section 4., Definitions:
(a) For the express purposes of this Act, the word "commerce" shall be taken to mean:
The buying and selling of goods or services in any form, and in direct reference to the exchange of United States currency (or other such legally recognized tender) for such goods or services.
(b) For the express purposes of this Act, the words phrased as "compliance inquiries" shall be taken to mean:
A written and delivered inquiry, and an in person inquiry as to responding to (a) specific complaint(s), and to which access to inspect private property shall only be in circumstances where the respondent has voluntarily agreed to and granted such access, or where on an individual basis, a court order has provided for such access.
(c) For the express purposes of Section 1. of this Act, the words phrased as "to be used for their own needs" shall be taken to mean:
For use as food, medicine, fiber, fuel, building materials, environmental damage mitigation or other environmental concerns, privacy, aesthetics or ambiance, spiritual/religious requirement, (or other) basic necessities of life.
(d) For the express purposes of Section 1. of this Act, the word "natural" and the words phrased as "naturally occurring" shall be taken to mean:
Plant species and varieties of such that have evolved in nature through the traditional pollination and cross pollination processes, be that by wind/weather, or animal (including human) assistance.
(e) For the express purposes of Section 1.(a) and Section 3.(a) of this Act, the word "greenhouse" shall be taken to mean:
Any structure where the sun's light can penetrate at least 80% of the roof (ceiling or top) surface and that is intended for and used for growing plants in.
Section 5., Severability:
If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable. The People of the County of Lake hereby declare that we would have adopted this Act irrespective of the invalidity of any particular portion thereof.
By ADAM BEAM Associated Press
June 18, 2014 - 5:04 pm EDT
FRANKFORT, Kentucky — As Kentucky embraces marijuana's less potent cousin, hemp, cannabis supporters hope to use that momentum to push lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana.
State lawmakers on Wednesday held their second public hearing this year on the subject, taking testimony from a quadriplegic who said marijuana eases his pain and treats his glaucoma. And lawmakers are planning at least two more public hearings this summer, including one before the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection committee that will focus on marijuana's effectiveness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder with soldiers.
The hearings come as Kentucky officials on all levels have come to slowly embrace the cannabis plant. Farmers in western Kentucky will harvest their first hemp crop in decades this fall after a 2013 state law legalized it in Kentucky and the 2014 farm bill cleared the last federal obstacle with the help of Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.
And doctors at the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville are using oil from hemp to develop treatments for seizures in children after state lawmakers legalized cannabidiol earlier this year.
It isn't just medical research that is fueling this resurgence, but the economic opportunity for a state still reeling from declines in the tobacco and coal industries.
"It's way past time for people to stop being afraid of this plant," said Katie Moyer, a member of the Kentucky Hemp Commission who is working with western Kentucky farmers on their hemp crops. "People just have to stop thinking of it as a danger and start looking at it like a tree."
Moyer's farmers have planted just 1.2 acres of hemp this year, but they have already found a buyer for the entire crop: a company that makes hempcrete, a building material similar to concrete that is made using hemp hurds, or stalks. And Gradient Engineering, a Montana-based engineering firm seeking to expand its product line, is preparing to move to Kentucky to take advantage of the state's burgeoning hemp industry.
"The crop that went into the ground in Kentucky to my knowledge is the only industrial hemp crop in the nation sanctioned by the federal government right now," said Trey Riddle, Gradient Engineering's CEO. "We want to get on the ground floor in Kentucky and be part of this project."
The hemp industry has found an unlikely ally in Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Kentucky's lone statewide Republican elected official is eyeing a run for governor in 2015. But that hasn't stopped him from championing hemp in a state that has long resisted it.
"Before, people who had been proponents of industrial hemp would come and wear shirts with marijuana leafs and march at the Capitol and nobody would want to be seen with them," he said. "We made it about economic opportunities and clearly tried to define the difference between a hemp plant and a marijuana plant. The majority of the people in Kentucky understand it."
It's unclear if Kentucky's newfound acceptance will extend to medical marijuana. Supporters took a baby step in April when the state legislature legalized cannabidiol, a product of the cannabis plant. Republican state Sen. Julie Denton, whose daughter once suffered from epilepsy, sponsored the bill after researching its effectiveness in combatting seizures in children.
During Wednesday's public hearing, three state lawmakers - all Democrats - voiced support for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. But Denton, the Republican chairwoman of the committee, chastised supporters who testified on Wednesday for disparaging Republicans and former President Richard Nixon for his role in criminalizing marijuana in the 1970s.
"You're not doing anything to help your cause. A lot of people on this committee support what you are trying to accomplish, without having to be derogatory about somebody and about a party," Denton said.
Denton later said she knows people who have used medical marijuana and "have had great results." She said the challenge to legalizing medical marijuana is the same challenge she faced in legalizing cannabidiol: educating lawmakers.
"I think people are really concerned about, as you've seen in California and in Colorado, increases in motor vehicle fatalities," Denton said. "In the future if Kentucky moves in that direction of medical marijuana, it would be extremely limited in who can prescribe it and who can dispense it."
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates agree growing hemp is a good thing for the state, but they differ about the cannabis plant's more potent cousin, marijuana.
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes told a statewide radio show on Thursday that she favors having a discussion on whether to legalize marijuana, especially for medical purposes.
"I'm in favor of having the discussion especially to reclassify the use of marijuana. We haven't had a senator that's even wanted to have those discussions though," Grimes told Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio.
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell said Friday he opposes the legalization of marijuana in all circumstances, including for medical purposes.
"We ought to be fighting drugs. We've got a huge heroin problem in this state. Northern Kentucky is the epicenter of heroin. I don't like the message that it sends," McConnell said after speaking at an event in Lexington.
Kentucky's state and federal officials have softened their stance toward the cannabis plant in recent years, mirroring a trend across the country. The state legislature passed a bill earlier this year allowing doctors at two state research universities to prescribe cannabidiol to treat patients. Supporters note that cannabidiol, which comes from the cannabis plant, has been effective in treating seizures in children.
The federal farm bill that passed earlier this year allowed Kentucky farmers to begin growing a commercial hemp crop for the first time in decades. The crop was delayed after the Drug Enforcement Administration detained a shipment of hemp seeds, an action both McConnell and Grimes publicly criticized. Earlier this week, about 12 farmers harvested 15 acres worth of hemp from those seeds.
Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has only trace amounts of THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high.
And state legislators have held multiple public hearings about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, including having one hearing on the impact medical marijuana could have in treating soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for medical purposes. Two states, Washington and Colorado, allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use. In her radio interview, Grimes mentioned the economic benefits in Colorado when explaining why she favors having a discussion about legalizing marijuana.
Colorado has collected $30 million in taxes on both recreational and medical marijuana sales since Jan. 1, lower than some estimates and but higher than others in a first-of-its-kind market.
"I think it's worthwhile to bring the experts together and talk about the reclassification," Grimes said.
But McConnell told WVLK radio in Lexington on Thursday that legalizing marijuana would not help the nation's drug problem because it sends the message that "we don't really care about this."
"You begin to sort of send the message that we're giving up," he said. "Then one thing leads to another and pretty soon you completely transform your society in a way that I think certainly most Kentuckians would not agree with."
Associated Press reporter Kristen Wyatt contributed reporting from Denver.
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'The Freedom to Garden Human Rights Restoration Act of 2014'An Ordinance to restore the natural...
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it does not support the use of...
By ADAM BEAM Associated Press June 18, 2014 - 5:04 pm EDT FRANKFORT, Kentucky — As Kentucky...