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Government Blocking AIDS/Medical Marijuana Study: Act This Week

For over two years the federal government has prevented a privately-funded study on the effectiveness of marijuana as a treatment for AIDS Wasting Syndrome from beginning. This study, to be performed by Dr. Donald Abrams of the University of California at San Francisco, now has FDA-approval and lacks only a legal source of marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Administration has refused to grant an import permit, leaving the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) the only possible legal source. (NIDA has a monopoly on legal marijuana cultivation in the US and has been providing it to researchers for decades.)

A meeting last December 9th at the Department of Health & Human Services was to have decided whether the Abrams study would be permitted to go forward; the meeting was postponed after an unexpected barrage of letters from DRCNet readers and others arrived at HHS. Since then, a number of Congressmen have inquired at HHS about this issue, and Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska forwarded a copy of a constituent's letter to Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Philip Lee, implicitly showing his support for scientific research on medical marijuana. On December 16th, conservative columnist William F. Buckley mentioned the Abrams study in an editorial supporting medical marijuana availability.


Dr. Lee's meeting will probably take place sometime in mid- January. Please take the following actions this week:

1) Write or fax your U.S. Representative, your two Senators, and your state legislators. Ask them to write to HHS and NIDA in support of the Abrams study, or to at least inquire about it. (Even Newt Gingrich has sponsored medical marijuana legislation in the past, so don't assume your legislators are too philistine to help out.) If you don't know how to reach your Congressmen and Senators, you can find out through the Congressional Switchboard, at (202) 224-3121. The address for any member of Congress is:

        The Honorable {your senator}    The Honorable {your representative} 

        United States Senate            House of Representatives 

        Washington, D.C. 20510          Washington, D.C. 20515

2) Contact the following public health officials who are directly involved in this decision:

        Dr. Philip Lee                  Dr. Alan Leshner, Director 

        Deputy Secretary for Health     National Institute on Drug Abuse 

        200 Independence Ave. SW        5600 Fishers Lane, Room 10-05 

        Washington, DC 20201            Rockville, MD 20857 

        (202) 690-7694 690-6274 (fax)   (301) 443-6480 443-9127 (fax)

Remember, Senator Kerrey acted on this after just one constituent wrote to him. A few minutes of your time now could lead to eventual FDA approval for medical marijuana and relief from unnecessary suffering for thousands. Inside sources have verified that this matter will be decided by politics, not reason, which means YOU are the most important link in the chain.

More information on the Abrams study can be obtained from:

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