Drug Czar Says Medical Marijuana 'Dying'


By AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press Writer
Friday, July 29, 2005

The White House drug czar said Friday that medical marijuana is "dying out" after the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe pot to ease pain.

John Walters, the national drug policy director, said state legislative efforts to expand medical marijuana programs have stalled in the two months since the high court's ruling overrode laws in Hawaii and nine other states.

"I think it's dying out," Walters told reporters after a meeting with Hawaii drug treatment counselors and law enforcement officials. "The real issue here is, is it the safe and best way for medical treatment? We don't think the best thing for people who are really sick is to make them high and send them away."

Walters said the federal government was funding research into whether cannabis could be used as a source of "medically sound" drugs, but he said "smoked marijuana hasn't met that science."

Steve Kubby, national director of the American Medical Marijuana Association, objected to Walters' remark, saying there are "hundreds" of peer-reviewed scientific studies showing clear medical benefits from cannabis.

"The drug czar has blood on his hands for blocking the humane and medical use of cannabis for sick, disabled and dying people," Kubby said.

Kubby, a force behind the passage of a California proposition that legalized pot clubs, said marijuana can help treat nausea, pain, arthritis and cancer.