Recognizing Science using the Data Quality Act

The the federal government, and the U.S. Department of Human Services (HHS) in particular, refute the medical benefits of marijuana and disseminate information to the public that marijuana has no medical value. The problem is that the federal government is basing its position on inaccurate and incomplete information about marijuana's medical efficacy. There exists more than enough evidence domestically and internationally to show that marijuana has benefitted countless people in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

ASA launched a legal challenge to HHS in October 2004 to correct published medical marijuana misinformation under the Data Quality Act (DQA), a little-known law that requires federal agencies to rely on sound science.  The DQA requires federal agencies, like HHS, to use reliable science when making regulations and disseminating information.

On April 20, 2005, HHS denied ASA's petition, but we quickly filed an appeal. After eight letters of delay, HHS finally denied ASA's appeal in July 2006. ASA will now file a lawsuit in federal court seeking judicial review of the decision by HHS to deny the ASA petition. If we prevail with our DQA lawsuit, HHS and the federal government will have to change its position on medical marijuana and publicly admit that marijuana is now routinely used for medical treatment, clearing the way for doctors to prescribe it to their patients.

For more political context, see Dean Kuipers' article, Feds vs. Meds.

Review ASA's DQA petition, the delay letters from HHS and the government's denial of the petition and appeal here.

What is the Data Quality Act?
Information about the Data Quality Act, which mandates that sound science must inform federal government policies.

Fact Sheet on ASA's Data Quality Act Petition to HHS
Information on how and why ASA is using the Data Quality Act to force the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to change its stance on the medical value of cannabis.

ASA's Data Quality Act petition to HHS
ASA's legal petition to the Department of Health and Human Services requesting they correct the information disseminated regarding the medical use of marijuana.

Patients File Lawsuit Challenging Federal Government On Medical Cannabis, Demand FDA Correct Misinformation
Americans for Safe Access lawsuit follows two-year petition process, comes on heels of new study showing effectiveness of medical cannabis.

Information on Lawyers and Named Patients in the Data Quality Act Lawsuit

Government Pressed to Defend Medical Marijuana Policies with Sound Science or Face Federal Lawsuit
May 2nd, 2006

Activist Enlists Unlikely Ally in Bid to Legalize Pot
by Eric BaileyLos Angeles Times
July 18th, 2005

New Initiative Planned to Get Marijuana Curbs Eased
by Rick WeissWashington Post
October 4th, 2004