For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 ;
Patients File Lawsuit Challenging Federal Government
Medical Cannabis, Demand FDA Correct Misinformation
Americans for Safe Access suit follows two-year petition process, comes on heels of new study on effectiveness of medical cannabis
Oakland, CA. The patients advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) filed a lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California demanding that the federal government cease issuing misinformation on medical cannabis and correct the information it has released.
“The FDA position on medical cannabis is incorrect, dishonest and a flagrant violation of laws requiring the government to base policy on sound science,” said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel for Americans for Safe Access.
The suit charges a violation of the little-known Data Quality Act (DQA). The DQA requires federal agencies such as Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to rely on sound science. It also allows citizens to challenge government information believed to be inaccurate or based on faulty, unreliable data. The ASA case specifically challenges the government position that “marijuana has no accepted medical value.”
“The science to support medical cannabis is overwhelming, yet the government continues to play politics with the lives of patients desperately in need of pain relief,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “Americans for Safe Access is filing this lawsuit on medical cannabis to demand that the FDA stop holding science hostage to politics.”
Today’s filing is the outcome of a more than two-year petition process and comes on the heels of a recent University of California, San Francisco study demonstrating the effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating pain in people living with HIV/AIDS.
ASA first filed a petition to force HHS – the FDA’s parent agency - to correct statements about the medical value of cannabis in October 2004. Under the DQA, agencies must respond or file for an extension 60 days from the date of the first petition filing. The government response was a statement saying that it would not act on the petition, a position it has maintained despite ASA’s May 2005 appeal. Using the DQA’s judicial review provisions, the Oakland-based organization is now taking its cause to the courts.
“Citizens have a right to expect the government to use the best available information for policy decisions. This innovative case turns the Data Quality Act into a tool for the public interest,” said preeminent legal scholar and case co-counsel Alan Morrison, who founded Public Citizen’s Litigation Group and currently serves as a senior lecturer at Stanford Law School.
“I had side effects from morphine patches, oxycontin, and oxycodone before starting a medical cannabis regime that has allowed me to get off prescription drugs and live virtually pain-free,” said Blackfoot, Idaho resident Victoria Lansford, a named patient in the lawsuit who suffers from fibromyalgia. “The government’s refusal to face up to the science is irresponsible and harms citizens like me for whom this treatment is a lifeline.”
ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers. ASA has over 30,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states.
DQA Complaint: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/DQA_Complaint.pdf
DQA Background info: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/DQA
Americans for Safe Access
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
Join us today…www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org
1322 Webster St Suite 402
Oakland, CA 94612
P: 510-251-1856 ext. 303 F: 510-251-2036
1730 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
P: 202-857-4272 F: 202-857-4273