It couldn't be a
pairing. Medical marijuana activist and head honcho at Americans for Safe Access Steph Sherer
has teamed up with legendary Beltway lobbyist Jim Tozzi, author of the Data
Quality Act, long reviled as a tool corporate America uses to blungeon
public safety regulations.
They both have their own axes to grind.
Sherer, a MMJ patient herself, wants to get her medicine into the hands of the
suffering and Tozzi wants to save his Act from an untimely demise at the hands
of Congress. Fortunately, for drug policy reform, their goals meet in the middle
and the two are working together to challenge the scheduling of marijuana as a
Class I drug along with heroin and LSD.
The ONDCP is predictably not
Although there have been "suggestions" that some elements of
the herb might be developed into prescription drugs, potential benefits are
outweighed by a "manifest risk" of widespread abuse, said David Murray, a
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy analyst.Notice the change in
rhetoric now that Andrea Barthwell is pitching for Sativex. All of sudden it's
the "raw crude leaf" of natural marijuana that's not an acceptable medicine but
pharmaceutically extracted derivatives are no longer villainous.
Even if new
marijuana-based drugs were approved, Murray said, they would not likely have
"the character of the raw crude leaf."
consensus seems to be that the pair won't be able to crack the Bush
administration's war on the plant itself and that it doesn't stand a chance to
be reregulated. As one pundit puts it, "This has nothing to do with the medical
debate. I think it's simply politics."
He's probably right, at least as
long as Bush is in office, but I'm not willing to count this new dynamic duo out
of the running yet. U.S. Health and Human Services officials have until Tuesday
to respond to their request for reconsideration. I can hardly wait for their