Reason’s Jacob Sullum adds his own comments to what his colleague Nick Gillespie had previously written (Kathryn posted a link) about the fact that Obama’s “drug czar” is now claiming that marijuana has no medicinal benefit. In a key section Jacob quotes something that he (Sullum) had written some time ago:
You could argue that smoking marijuana introduces hazards by exposing patients to combustion products, but epidemiological studies of pot smokers are mostly reassuring on that score. Furthermore, vaporization addresses this concern by releasing THC without burning the plant matter. You also could argue that smoked or vaporized marijuana has no meaningful advantages over Marinol, the synthetic THC capsule [approved by the FDA], although many patients would disagree, noting that marijuana takes effect right away, offers much easier dosage control, has less disturbing psychoactive effects, and does not require swallowing and keeping down a capsule (a challenge for people suffering from severe nausea). You could even say that raw plant matter is not an appropriate medication in this day and age, when every drug must be approved by the government in isolated form after rigorous testing.
But, if instead you say something like “marijuana has no medicinal benefit,” you are, in Jacob’s view, either a liar or an idiot. My guess? Kerlikowske isn’t an idiot, but he believes that the typical American is. If Obama was really set on running an administration where the science counted (already a questionable claim) he would fire Kerlikowske at once. I’m not holding my breath.