Last updated on: 1/30/2009 | Author:

Lyle E. Craker, PhD Biography

Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“I have viewed marijuana the same as any other medicinal botanical in which possible health benefits are unknown or unproven. That is, the plant and plant extracts should be investigated by qualified medical professionals to determine whether the plant material has any potential for treating human afflictions, separating the anecdotal from the tested.

From the beginning, I have recognized that this plant is somewhat different from other medicinal plants, long suppressed because of misuse as a recreational drug. Yet, I also recognized that with proper security any misuse of plant material grown for medical trials could be prevented. Indeed, the danger from growing this plant seems no more hazardous than other illicit drugs to which the government limits access through appropriate security arrangements.”

“People Working to Legalize Medical Marijuana,” American Civil Liberties Union website, Nov. 29, 2005

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • Respondent, In The Matter of Lyle E. Craker, PhD, Drug Enforcement Administration application to grow marijuana for medical research
  • Editor, Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants
  • Chairman, Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Section, International Society for Horticultural Science
  • Organizing Member, International Council on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
  • Editorial Board, Hungarian Agronomica, Herbalgram, and Medicinal Plant Abstracts
  • Member, ISHS Working Group on Culture of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
  • Member, American Society for Horticultural Science
  • Member, International Society for Horticultural Science
  • Member, Sigma Xi
  • Member, International Herb Association
  • PhD, Agronomy & Plant Genetics (specialization in Plant Physiology, minor in Biochemistry), University of Minnesota, 1967
  • BS, Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, 1963
  • AA., Business Administration, Mass Bay Community College, 1976
  • In 2001, Craker submitted an application to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to be allowed to grow marijuana for research purposes. On Feb. 12, 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner recommended that the application be granted. On Jan. 7, 2009, DEA Deputy Administrator Michele Leonhart issued a final ruling rejecting Craker’s petition.
  • Dr. Craker’s research interest is “directed toward the control of mechanisms regulating essential oil synthesis and composition of several herbs. Interested in the effect of light and environmental stress on physiology and biochemistry of herbs and other plants, especially as related to increasing production and quality of plant extracts.” Lyle E. Craker website (accessed on Feb. 23, 2007)