The White House has taken many punches through the years over their lack of support for marijuana legalization and research. But this morning, the Obama administration took a major step towards supporting cannabis research when it lifted a long-criticized requirement that helped block research into the medical benefits of marijuana.
According to The Huffington Post, the Public Health Service review requirement was eliminated, meaning that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), also known as the drug czar’s office, will begin to assist in the research of cannabis. The decision came after a bipartisan group of lawmakers asked for the requirement to be lifted. Even opponents of legalization have called for it to be lifted.
Drug czar spokesman Mario Moreno Zepeda said, “The Obama Administration has actively supported scientific research on whether marijuana or its components can be safe and effective medicine. Eliminating the Public Health Service review should help facilitate additional research to advance our understanding of both the adverse effects and potential therapeutic uses for marijuana or its components.”
The lifted requirement was complicated and full of holes. It proposed that since marijuana research wasn’t funded by the government, it had to undergo a Public Health Service review. That’s a process that was created back in 1999 by the federal government after a 1998 Institute of Medicine report called for more scientific research into the medical value of marijuana. What made it especially controversial was that other substance classified by the government as Schedule I was subject to the same process. Schedule I drugs are substances the DEA feels have the highest potential for abuse and no medical value.