Last updated on: 5/30/2008 | Author:

What Has the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Said about Medical Marijuana?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent in charge Javier Pena stated in a July 28, 2005 article “Bush’s War on Pot” published in Rolling Stone magazine:

“We can’t disregard the federal law. The Supreme Court reiterates that we have the power to enforce the federal drug laws — even if they are not popular. We’re going to continue to do that.”

July 28, 2005

The US DEA stated in an Apr. 26, 2005 press release titled “Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us”:

“When 14-year-old Irma Perez of Belmont, California, took a single ecstasy pill one evening last April, she had no idea she would become one of the 26,000 people who die every year from drugs. Irma took ecstasy with two of her 14-year-old friends in her home. Soon after taking the tiny blue pill, Irma complained of feeling awful and said she felt like she was ‘going to die.’ Instead of seeking medical care, her friends called the 17-year-old dealer who supplied the pills and asked for advice.

The friends tried to get Irma to smoke marijuana, but when she couldn’t because she was vomiting and lapsing into a coma, they stuffed marijuana leaves into her mouth because, according to news sources, ‘they knew that drug is sometimes used to treat cancer patients.”

Irma Perez died from taking ecstasy, but compounding that tragedy was the deadly decision to use marijuana to ‘treat’ her instead of making what could have been a lifesaving call to 911. Irma was a victim of our society’s stunning misinformation about marijuana-a society that has come to believe that marijuana use is not only an individual’s free choice but also is good medicine, a cure-all for a variety of ills.”

Related link: Can marijuana use cause death?

Apr. 26, 2005

US DEA special agent Richard Meyer of the San Francisco field office told the Lake County Record-Bee, as reported on Aug. 19, 2004:

“According to the United States Constitution there is a supremacy clause, which says that in case of conflict federal law precedes state law.

According to federal law, there is no such thing as medical marijuana. Marijuana is a dangerous drug that the United States Congress has classified as a Schedule One substance. A Schedule One substance doesn’t have any accepted medical use in the United States and a high potential for abuse.”

Related Link: What is the history of federal (US Government) drug scheduling?

Aug. 19, 2004

The US DEA stated on its website (accessed Sep. 13, 2002):

“Not one American health association accepts marijuana as medicine. Statements issued by these organizations express concern over the harmful effects of the drugs and over the lack of solid research demonstrating that they might do more good than harm.”

Sep. 13, 2002

US DEA special agent Richard Meyer of the San Francisco field office stated in Alternet News on Apr. 16, 2002:

“The marijuana clubs are not our primary priority; we could, but we have not, targeted them for investigations.

We have heard people in the community saying that many traffickers are using [the cannabis clubs] as a smoke screen to engage in this business for profit and are not concerned with the sick.

Any cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law. It is our job is to enforce those laws and we will.”

Apr. 16, 2002

Asa Hutchinson, while serving as US DEA Administrator, stated in a June 6, 2002 press release:

“Drugs sold lawfully in the United States are the safest in the world. This is because our nation, through its laws, insists on careful deliberation before allowing drugs to be sold as medicine.

To date, marijuana does not meet the scientific requirements.”

Related Link: Rescheduling Criteria

June 6, 2002

The US DEA told in a Jan. 2, 2002 email:

“Any determination of a drug’s valid medical use must be based on the best available science undertaken by medical professionals. The Institute of Medicine (under the National Academy of Sciences) conducted a comprehensive study in 1999 to assess the potential health benefits of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids. The study concluded that smoking marijuana is not recommended for the treatment of any disease condition.

In addition, the effects of cannabinoids studied are generally modest, and in most cases, there are more effective medications currently available. For those reasons, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved medication. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also conducted an extensive scientific and medical evaluation of marijuana as medicine and issued a finding in January 2001 that marijuana (and the tetrahydrocannabinols) should remain as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

A Schedule I substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and has a high potential for abuse. HHS based its recommendation on many factors, including that the FDA has not approved a new drug application for marijuana and the fact that the known risks of marijuana use outweigh any potential benefits.”

Did the US 1999 IOM Report conclude that medical marijuana has any medical value?

Jan. 2, 2002

The US DEA, in response to a question asking if allowing sick people to smoke marijuana sends the wrong messages to our children and our society, told in a Jan. 2, 2002 email:

“Yes since it has not been proven scientifically to be medicine.”

Jan. 2, 2002

The US DEA, when asked if marijuana is “gateway” or “stepping stone” drug, told in a Jan. 2, 2002 email:

“Yes, in some instances. Among marijuana’s most harmful consequences is its potential role in leading to the use of other illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin. Long-term studies of high school students and their patterns of drug use show that very few young people use other illegal drugs without first trying marijuana. While not all people who use marijuana go on to use other drugs, using marijuana puts children and teens in contact with people who are users and sellers of other drugs, so there is more of a risk that a marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more dangerous drugs.

A recent study by Columbia University’s Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found a pronounced difference in future drug use between kids who used marijuana and those who did not. It revealed that teens who smoke marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those who do not. This means the odds of using other drugs increases with the increased frequency of marijuana smoking.”

Related Link: Is marijuana a “gateway” or “stepping stone” drug?

Jan. 2, 2002

The US DEA told the following in a Jan. 2, 2002 email regarding the legalization of medical marijuana:

“The campaign to legalize medical marijuana is a tactical maneuver in an overall strategy to completely legalize all drugs. Pro-legalization groups have transformed the debate from decriminalizing drug use to one of compassion and care for people with serious diseases. In spite of this effort, the leaders of these groups continue to reveal their true intent in public dialogue.

The New York Times interviewed Ethan Nadelman, Director of the Lindesmith Center, in January 2000. Responding to criticism from former ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey that the medical marijuana issue is a stalking-horse for drug legalization, Mr. Nadelman did not contradict General McCaffrey. ‘Will it help lead toward marijuana legalization?’ Mr. Nadelman said: ‘I hope so.’

Medical use arguments garner public support because they appear harmless and play on the sympathies of the American public. In truth, these issues are peripheral to a greater subversion and provide an entry into the legalization debate.”

Jan. 2, 2002

The US DEA, in a Nov. 2001 publication DEA Briefing Book, Drugs of Concern, wrote:

“Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-causing chemicals that are stored in fat cells of users for up to several months. Marijuana users experience the same health problems as tobacco smokers, such as bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. Some of the effects of marijuana use also include increased heart rate, dryness of the mouth, reddening of the eyes, impaired motor skills and concentration, and frequent hunger. Extended use increases risk to the lungs and reproductive system, as well as suppression of the immune system. Occasionally, hallucinations, fantasies, and paranoia are reported.”

Nov. 2001