Last updated on: 8/17/2017 3:09:46 PM PST
Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?

PRO (yes)

The Herald Editorial Board stated in its Jan. 24, 2017 editorial titled "Legalize Marijuana for Medical Purposes," available at

"Medical marijuana shows considerable promise in reducing chronic pain from a widespread number of causes, including cancer, spinal cord injury and disease, severe spasms, post-traumatic stress disorder, nausea, glaucoma, Parkinson’s and other debilitating ailments. The drug could prove useful in other applications if patients are allowed to use it.

It is nonsensical to oppose the use of medical marijuana in the midst of what amounts to a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction. Why not provide patients with a safer option? And why continue to allow doctors to prescribe powerful, addictive opiates but deny them the authority to legally prescribe medical marijuana?

It is illogical and potentially heartless to deny patients with serious health problems a drug that could help mediate pain and discomfort with few, if any, side effects."

Jan. 24, 2017 - Herald Editorial Board 

Sanjay Gupta, MD, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, wrote the following in an Aug. 8, 2013 article titled "Why I Changed My Mind on Weed," published on

"I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled 'Why I would Vote No on Pot.'

Well, I am here to apologize.

I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis...

I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have 'no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.'

They didn't have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn't have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works...

We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that."

[Editor's Note: Prior to Dr. Gupta's pro statement on Aug. 8, 2013, he expressed a con position as indicated in his Nov. 6, 2006 statement in the opposite column.]

Aug. 8, 2013 - Sanjay Gupta, MD 

Joycelyn Elders, MD, former US Surgeon General, wrote the following in a Mar. 26, 2004 article titled "Myths About Medical Marijuana," published in the Providence Journal:

"The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS -- or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day."

Mar. 26, 2004 - Joycelyn Elders, MD 

Steven R. Patierno, PhD, Deputy Director of the Duke Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, stated the following in a July 7, 2014 opinion article titled "New York Does Medical Marijuana Right," published in the Wall Street Journal:

"The use of marijuana as a medicine is remarkably uncontroversial at the bedside of a cancer patient or a child suffering from convulsions who might be helped...

The Compassionate Care Act, passed by the New York State Legislature last month and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on July 5, [2014,] introduces simple yet profound reforms by banning marijuana smoking and mandating individual dosing of medical cannabis in all other forms, such as capsules and vaporization. By treating medical marijuana like other medicines, New York shifted the debate into the mainstream of modern medicine and set a much-needed national standard of care...

Metered dosing is the standard of care in modern medicine, allowing doctors to prescribe precise amounts based on the patient's response, and reducing the chance of adverse drug interactions...

Cannabis produced in metered doses is easily tested for contaminants, and the potency of all active ingredients, for instance, and sterilized for safety—essential public-health safeguards...

[T]he introduction of smokeless cannabis in dosage form will immediately ease human pain and suffering and help to move medical marijuana from the underground economy to the mainstream of the nation's health-care system."

July 7, 2014 - Steven Patierno, PhD 

Ralph Nader, LLB, attorney, author, and consumer advocate, stated the following in an Oct. 8, 2004 interview with the Drug War Chronicle:

"The criminal prosecution of patients for medical marijuana must end immediately, and marijuana must be treated as a medicine for the seriously ill...

Research has shown marijuana to be a safe and effective medicine for controlling nausea associated with cancer therapy, reducing the eye pressure for patients with glaucoma, and reducing muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, para- and quadriplegia...

Physicians must have the right to prescribe this drug to their patients without the fear of the federal government revoking their licenses, and doctor-patient privacy must be protected. The Drug Enforcement Administration should not be practicing medicine."

Oct. 8, 2004 - Ralph Nader, LLB 

Ron Paul, MD, Member of the US House of Representatives (R-TX), wrote the following in an Apr. 27, 2005 letter to the US Food and Drug Administration signed by 23 other members of the US House of Representatives:

"After deferring to the DEA, your release reads that, 'FDA is the sole federal agency that approves drug products as safe and effective for intended indications.' Why then has the FDA failed to respond to the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report which concluded that marijuana's active components are potentially effective in treating pain, nausea, the anorexia of AIDS wasting, and other symptoms, and should be tested rigorously in clinical trials?

It perplexes us that even though the FDA is responsible for protecting public health, the agency has failed to respond adequately to the IOM's findings seven years after the study's publication date. Additionally, this release failed to make note of the FDA's Investigational New Drug (IND) Compassionate Access Program, which allowed patients with certain medical conditions to apply with the FDA to receive federal marijuana. Currently, seven people still enlisted in this program continue to receive marijuana through the federal government.

The existence of this program is an example of how the FDA could allow for the legal use of a drug, such as medical marijuana, without going through the 'well-controlled' series of steps that other drugs have to go through if there is a compassionate need."

Apr. 27, 2005 - Ron Paul, MD 

Dennis Kucinich, US Representative (D-OH) and 2008 Democratic Candidate for US President, stated the following in an Aug. 9, 2007 Democratic presidential forum aired on Viacom's Logo cable network:

"It's a matter between doctors and patients, and if doctors want to prescribe medical marijuana to relieve pain, compassion requires that the government support that. And so as president of the United States, I would make sure that our Justice Department was mindful that we should be taking a compassionate approach.

I want to go one step further, because this whole issue of drugs in our society is misplaced. Drugs have infected the society, but I think we need to look at it more as a medical and a health issue than as a criminal justice issue."

Aug. 9, 2007 - Dennis Kucinich 

Blake Griffin, professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers, stated the following in an Apr. 15, 2014 interview with Rob Tannenbaum titled "Blake Griffin Dishes on Bieber, Weed, Creed and His PED Secret," published in Rolling Stone:

"[Rolling Stone:] The NFL might let players use medical marijuana to treat pain. If you had a vote, would the NBA do the same?

[Blake Griffin:] It doesn't really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects. So I would vote yes. I just think it makes sense."

Apr. 15, 2014 - Blake Griffin 

Lyn Nofziger, former Press Secretary to Ronald Reagan, wrote the following in the foreword to the 1999 book Marijuana RX: The Patients' Fight for Medicinal Pot, by Robert C. Randall and Alice M. O'Leary:

"Marijuana clearly has medicinal value. Thousands of seriously ill Americans have been able to determine that for themselves, albeit illegally. Like my own family, these individuals did not wish to break the law but they had no other choice. The numerous attempts to legitimately resolve the issue-via state legislation and federal administrative hearings-have too often been ignored or thwarted by misguided federal agencies. Several states conducted extensive, and expensive, research programs which demonstrated marijuana's medical utility-particularly in the treatment of chemotherapy side-effects. Francis L. Young, the chief administrative law judge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, ruled marijuana has legitimate medical applications and should be available to doctors."

1999 - Lyn Nofziger 

Philip Denney, MD, co-founder of a medical cannabis evaluation practice, stated the following in his Nov. 17, 2005 testimony to the Arkansas legislature in support of House Bill 1303, An Act to Permit the Medical Use of Marijuana:

"I have found in my study of these patients that cannabis is really a safe, effective and non-toxic alternative to many standard medications. There is no such thing as an overdose. We have seen very minimal problems with abuse or dependence, which at worst are equivalent to dependence on caffeine. While a substance may have some potential for misuse, in my opinion, that's a poor excuse to deny its use and benefit to everyone else."

Nov. 17, 2005 - Philip Denney, MD 

Jay Cavanaugh, PhD, National Director of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC), wrote the following in a 2002 article titled "The Plight of the Chronically Ill," posted on the AAMC website:

"Many of the chronically ill have successfully sought relief with the use of medical cannabis, an age-old remedy that now shows real scientific efficacy. Hundreds of thousands of the sick have replaced disabling narcotics and other psychotropic medications with nontoxic and benign cannabis. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Folks with spinal injuries able to give up their walkers, AIDS patients able to gain weight and keep their medications down, cancer patients finding relief from the terrible nausea of chemotherapy, chronic pain patients once again functional with their consciousness restored from narcotic lethargy, and folks once disabled from crippling psychiatric disorders and addictions, returned to sanity and society with the assistance of a nontoxic herb with remarkable healing powers."

2002 - Jay Cavanaugh, PhD 

Jerry S. Mandel, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and Harvey W. Feldman, PhD, former Fellow of the Drug Abuse Council, wrote the following in their Apr.-June 1998 article titled ""Providing Medical Marijuana: The Importance of Cannabis," published in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs:

"The issue of whether marijuana has medicinal benefits no longer seems to be in question. Hundreds of scientific studies and thousands of testimonials from patients have established marijuana's effectiveness in controlling the nausea of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation; in enhancing appetites for AIDS patients who suffer a wasting syndrome or who have adverse reactions to their HAART (highly active antiretroviral treatment) medications; in reducing intraocular pressure for persons with glaucoma; in giving relief from spasms of muscular dystrophy; and for relieving pain from dozens of other serious diseases."

Apr.-June 1998 - Jerry S. Mandel, PhD 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) stated the following in the FAQ's section of its website, last updated on Dec. 8, 2008:

"For many patients, traditional medications do work and they do not require or desire medical marijuana. However, for a significant number of serious ill patients, including patients suffering from AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain among others, traditional medications do not provide symptomatic relief as effectively as medicinal cannabis. These patients must not be branded as criminals or forced to suffer needlessly in pain."

Dec. 8, 2008 - National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) 

David L. Bearman, MD, physician and medical marijuana expert, stated the following in a Mar. 1, 2006 phone interview with

"I grew up knowing that cannabis could be a medicine... I'm not aware of any proven long-term [harmful] effects from cannabis. People have been trying to find major risks [from marijuana], but I've never seen any documented. We know if you smoke cannabis your chances of getting lung cancer are less than if you don't smoke anything at all."

Mar. 1, 2006 - David L. Bearman, MD 

Gregory T. Carter, MD, Clinical Professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Washington and Co-director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Center, wrote the following in an Oct. 2003 article posted on the MDA website:

"There are really no other medications that have the same mechanisms of action as marijuana. Dronabinol (Marinol) is available by prescription in capsules, but has the distinct disadvantage of containing only synthetic delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is only one of many therapeutically beneficial cannabinoids in the natural plant. Interestingly, it is the most psychoactive of the cannabinoids and is the one that the Federal government allows to be prescribed!

Cannabinoids are now known to have the capacity for neuromodulation, via direct, receptor-based mechanisms, at numerous levels within the nervous system. These provide therapeutic properties that may be applicable to the treatment of neurological disorders, including anti-oxidative, neuroprotective effects, analgesia, anti-inflammatory actions, immunomodulation, modulation of glial cells and tumor growth regulation. Beyond that, the cannabinoids have also been shown to be remarkably safe with no potential for overdose."

Oct. 2003 - Gregory T. Carter, MD 

The American Nurses Association (ANA) wrote the following in its Mar. 19, 2004 "Position Statement: Providing Patients Safe Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," posted on the ANA website:

"The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes that patients should have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis. Cannabis or marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms and conditions."

Mar. 19, 2004 - American Nurses Association 

David Hadorn, MD, PhD, Medical Consultant for GW Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., wrote in his July 17, 2003 document titled "Use of Cannabis Medicines in Clinical Practice," published on his personal website (website no longer available; Feb. 17, 2009):

"I have seen many patients with chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, anorexia, and other unpleasant symptoms obtain significant -- often remarkable -- relief from cannabis medicines, well beyond what had been provided by traditional (usually opiate-based) pain relievers."

July 17, 2003 - David Hadorn, MD, PhD 

Mark A.R. Kleiman, PhD, Professor of Public Policy at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, wrote the following in a Mar. 4, 2004 blog post titled "Get Your Red-Hot Medical Marijuana Here," posted on his blog,

"Cannabis is almost certainly a useful treatment for at least some patients with several different diagnoses, and ought to be so recognized by the FDA and therefore sold lawfully at pharmacies under physicians' prescription. I keep hoping that the National Institute on Drug Abuse will relax the policy which has effectively prevented researchers from acquiring cannabis to use in clinical research, and that the medical marijuana advocates will devote some tiny fraction of their lititigation-and-petitioning budget to the medical research that could take this issue off the table politically."

Mar. 4, 2004 - Mark A.R. Kleiman, PhD 

Lester Grinspoon, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, stated the following in his Oct. 1, 1997 testimony before the Crime Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives:

"Cannabis is remarkably safe. Although not harmless, it is surely less toxic than most of the conventional medicines it could replace if it were legally available. Despite its use by millions of people over thousands of years, cannabis has never cause an overdose death."

Oct. 1, 1997 - Lester Grinspoon, MD 

Robert Kampia, Founder and Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, stated the following the following in his Apr. 1, 2004 testimony to the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources:

"The medical benefits of marijuana are widely recognized...there is almost no way that a science-based approach can lead to the conclusion that marijuana--even smoked marijuana--is not medicine. The opposition to medical marijuana isn't based on science, but rather lies and myths that are refutable by indisputable facts... Regarding the claim that marijuana is too dangerous to be a medicine, it is interesting to note that there has never been a death attributed to an overdose of marijuana. Clearly, most prescription drugs are far more dangerous than marijuana."

Apr. 1, 2004 - Robert Kampia 

Jerome P. Kassirer, MD, former Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, wrote the following in a Jan. 30, 1997 editorial titled "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

"I believe that a federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane... Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medicinal use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat. The government should change marijuana's status from that of a Schedule 1 drug (considered to be potentially addictive and with no current medical use) to that of a Schedule 2 drug (potentially addictive but with some accepted medical use) and regulate it accordingly."

Jan. 30, 1997 - Jerome P. Kassirer, MD 

Francis L. Young, former Chief Administrative Law Judge at the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), stated the following in his Sep. 6, 1988 ruling in the matter of "Marijuana Rescheduling Petition":

"The evidence in this record [9-6-88 ruling] clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record."

Sep. 6, 1988 - Francis L. Young 

Montel Williams, television host, wrote the following in his 2004 book Climbing Higher:

"How dare someone tell me they can prescribe morphine, vicodin, percocet. Make the drugs most addictive, name the most addictive drug, they can give me and I can be a walking member of the society by taking that garbage, but my doctor, who has prescribed it for me, can’t prescribe medicinal marijuana? Why? Because we have an idea everybody who does it sits around smoking. There are 50 different ways to utilize it. You can eat it; you can process it into a liquid; or you can turn it into a pill form. The willow tree was taken apart about 200 years ago and turned into aspirin. And we all take it."

2004 - Montel Williams 

Bill O'Reilly, MA, Host of The O'Reilly Factor, stated the following on a July 7, 2004 episode of his television program The O'Reilly Factor:

"I believe Montel Williams when he says, 'Look, medical marijuana helps me, helps me cope with this disease, cope with my suffering. There's no reason why I should be denied it.' And I agree with Montel Williams that if this is the case, if a doctor -- a doctor -- says that he needs it for his MS, he should have it...

Montel Williams believes, because he actively smokes marijuana, that it helps his MS. See, and I'm saying to myself, if we're going to err here -- and he believes it and it helps him -- let him have it. It's not hurting society."

July 7, 2004 - Bill O'Reilly, MA 

Karen O'Keefe, JD, attorney and Legislative Analyst for Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), wrote the following in a Sep. 21, 2005 email to

"It is fundamentally wrong to make preserving one's health -- or life -- a crime. Yet the federal law on marijuana and many state laws do just that. There is overwhelming evidence that marijuana is one of the safest available treatment options, when used at the direction of a physician. Even the DEA's Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, came to that conclusion. Research has shown that marijuana alleviates pain, nausea, AIDS and cancer wasting, and glaucoma. In trials where patients have been allowed to present evidence of their medical need for marijuana, courts have frequently found that marijuana it is medically necessary to their health. With roughly 20% of all cancer deaths caused by wasting, it is cruel and senseless to criminalize the doctor-advised use of a safe, effective, and widely available treatment."

Sep. 21, 2005 - Karen O'Keefe, JD 

Jack Herer, author and pro-marijuana activist, wrote the following in the Nov. 2000 edition of his 1985 book The Emperor Wears No Clothes:

"There are more than 60 therapeutic compounds in cannabis that are healing agents in medical and herbal treatments. The primary one is THC, and the effectiveness of therapy is directly proportionate to the herb's potency or concentration of THC."

Nov. 2000 - Jack Herer 

Frank Lucido, MD, physician in private medical practice in Berkeley, CA, wrote the following in an Apr. 6, 2006 email to

"Cannabis has a long, impressive history as a safe and effective medicine... I am widely known to be a thorough, caring, and trusted physician, who takes the time and effort to establish that the patient is appropriate in their use of medical cannabis."

Apr. 6, 2006 - Frank Lucido, MD 

Jacob Sullum, Senior Editor of Reason magazine, wrote the following in his 2003 book Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use:

"It's beyond serious dispute that marijuana, which has been used therapeutically for thousands of years, helps relieve nausea and restore appetite. Marinol, a capsule containing THC, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for AIDS wasting syndrome and the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. But smoked marijuana has several advantages over Marinol..."

2003 - Jacob Sullum 

Laurence O. McKinney, Managing Partner of McKinney & Company, wrote the following in a Sep. 18, 2007 email to

"Yes, it should be an option. Cannabis has been used for millenia to potentiate other drugs, relax spasms, assist in meditative practices, and amplify sensation. A modern Ayurvedic text devotes fourteen pages to cannabis as a major medical plant with directions for use. Sri Lankans use cannabis based churnas every day.

Marijuana should be available to adults for medical purposes if for no other reason than it is harmless, often helpful, and this would initiate control, rather than eradication, of a useful medical plant. That being said, incinerating or heating a vegetable to obtain THC along with whatever comes along and inhaling all sorts of junk to get it is hardly scientific. But still, what's the beef? Nobody's being harmed and many are helped."

Sep. 18, 2007 - Laurence O. McKinney, MBA 

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) wrote the following in a Feb. 2008 email to

"According to the growing tide of research, the analgesic, anti-inflammatory and potentially curative effects of cannabis continues to support that marijuana is a safe, effective part of therapeutic treatment. Twelve states legally recognize the medicinal use of marijuana, and eighty percent of Americans support medical cannabis, according to a 2002 CNN/Time poll."

Feb. 2008 - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) 

Tod Mikuriya, MD, psychiatrist and medical coordinator, stated the following in 2001, as quoted on his website in the "Cannabis" section:

"Cannabis is leading the way for a more holistic type of medical care, a general revolt against corporate rationed care and traditional pharmaceutical company approaches to medicine. Patients use marijuana to get off toxic drugs. They find fellowship in compassion clubs. They find empowerment in fighting against prohibition, standing up to police and demagogues. Our opponents can threaten our freedom, but they can't kill our spirit."

2001 - Tod Mikuriya, MD 

Elvy Musikka, a medical marijuana patient in the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Investigational New Drug (IND) Program, wrote the following in a Jan. 13, 1997 letter to President Bill Clinton:

"I am patient no. 3 of 8 who today currently receives medical marijuana through the federal government of the United States...

By 1991, I am aware of at least 50 patients who through extensive medical records, reputable doctors, and sometimes through courts -- such as in my case -- were able to convince all three drug-related agencies, FDA, DEA, and NIDA, that for us, marijuana isn't just medicine, it is the most efficient, reliable and safest part of our treatment and sometimes it is our only treatment."

Jan. 13, 1997 - Elvy Musikka 

American College of Physicians (ACP) stated the following in its Feb. 15, 2008 position paper titled "Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana":

"Position 1: ACP supports programs and funding for rigorous scientific evaluation of the potential therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and the publication of such findings...

Position 2: ACP encourages the use of nonsmoked forms of THC that have proven therapeutic value...

Position 4: ACP urges review of marijuana's status as a schedule I controlled substance and its reclassification into a more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence regarding marijuana's safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions.

Position 5: ACP strongly supports exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning, such as loss of licensure or credentialing, for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law. Similarly, ACP strongly urges protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws."

Feb. 15, 2008 - American College of Physicians (ACP) 

Consumer Reports Magazine wrote in a May 1997 article titled "Marijuana as Medicine - How Strong Is the Science?":

"Consumer Reports believes that, for patients with advanced AIDS and terminal cancer, the apparent benefits some derive from smoking marijuana outweigh any substantiated or even suspected risks. In the same spirit the FDA uses to hasten the approval of cancer drugs, federal laws should be relaxed in favor of states' rights to allow physicians to administer marijuana to their patients on a caring and compassionate basis."

May 1997 - Consumer Reports Magazine 

Christopher Largen, author, and George McMahon, author and medical marijuana patient of the US Federal Drug Administration's Investigational New Drug (IND) Program, wrote the following in their 2003 book Prescription Pot: A Leading Advocate's Heroic Battle to Legalize Medical Marijuana:

"Ultimately, the issue is not about laws, science or politics, but sick patients. Making no distinction between individuals circumstances of use, the war on drugs has also become a war on suffering people. Legislators are not health care professionals and patients are not criminals, yet health and law become entwined in a needlessly cruel and sometimes deadly dance... I sincerely hope our work will illuminate the irrational injustice of medical marijuana prohibition."

2003 - Christopher Largen 
George McMahon 

Bob Barr, JD, former US Representative (R-GA), stated in an Apr. 12, 2008 interview on C-SPAN's Washington Journal:

"Medical marijuana has a lot of efficacy, it should be supportive [sic], and it should be up to the states to vote and decide on those issues, not the federal government."

[Editor's Note: Prior to Apr. 12, 2008, Bob Barr's position was Con medical marijuana as indicated in his May 14, 2002 statement below, made in a radio debate with Neil Boortz.]

"This [marijuana] is not medicine. This is bogus witchcraft. It has no place in medicine, no place in pain relief, and it has no place around our children."

Apr. 12, 2008 - Bob Barr, JD 

The Federation of American Scientists wrote the following in a Nov. 15, 1994 petition to US Department of Health and Human Services:

"Based on much evidence, from patients and doctors alike, on the superior effectiveness and safety of whole cannabis compared to other medications, the President should instruct the NIH and the Food and Drug Administration to make efforts to enroll seriously ill patients whose physicians believe that whole cannabis would be helpful to their conditions in clinical trials, both to allow data-gathering and to provide an alternative to the black market while the scientific questions about the possible utility of cannabis are resolved."

Nov. 15, 1994 - Federation of American Scientists 

The Lymphoma Foundation of America stated the following in its Jan. 20, 1997 resolution:

"Be it resolved that this organization urges Congress and the President to enact legislation to reschedule marijuana to allow doctors to prescribe smokable marijuana to patients in need; and, Be it further resolved that this organization urges the US Public Health Service to allow limited access to medicinal marijuana by promptly reopening the Investigational New Drug compassionate access program to new applicants."

Jan. 20, 1997 - Lymphoma Foundation of America 

Bill Richardson, MA, Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in a Feb. 7, 2007 press release titled "Governor Bill Richardson Urges Action on Medical Marijuana Bill":

"I support a sensible, compassionate plan that makes medical marijuana available to patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Such a plan must have proper safeguards and restrictions against abuse. I oppose any plan to decriminalize any drug that is currently illegal for recreational use. I also think it is irresponsible for any public official to publicly advocate decriminalization, because such actions send a terrible and contradictory message both to law enforcement and children who should be taught that illegal drugs are dangerous."

Feb. 7, 2007 - Bill Richardson 

Bernard Rimland, PhD, Founder of the Autism Society of America (ASA), wrote the folloing in his 2003 article titled "Medical Marijuana: a Valuable Treatment for Autism?," published in Autism Research Review International:

"It is important to keep in mind the distinction between legalizing marijuana for medical uses, which has been done in some states, and 'recreational' drug use which is illegal throughout the U.S. Judging from the evidence in hand, I believe legalization of medical use is justified. Legalizing marijuana for non-medical use (as has been done for alcohol) is quite another issue. Early evidence suggests that in such cases, medical marijuana may be a beneficial treatment, as well as being less harmful than the drugs that doctors routinely prescribe."

2003 - Bernard Rimland, PhD 

Ethan Russo, MD, Senior Medical Advisor at the Cannabinoid Research Institute, et al., wrote the following in the Jan. 2002 paper titled "Chronic Cannabis Use in the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program: An Examination of Benefits and Adverse Effects of Legal Clinical Cannabis," published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics:

"Cannabis smoking, even of a crude, low-grade product, provides effective symptomatic relief of pain, muscle spasms, and intraocular pressure elevations in selected patients failing other modes of treatment...

It is the authors' opinion that the Compassionate IND program should be reopened and extended to other patients in need of clinical cannabis. Failing that, local, state and federal laws might be amended to provide regulated and monitored clinical cannabis to suitable candidates."

Jan. 2002 - Ethan Russo, MD 

Maurice Hinchey, Member of the US House of Representatives (D-NY), stated the following in a June 28, 2006 press release issued by his office titled "Hinchey Vows to Keep Fighting for Medical Marijuana Amendment":

"People who are dying and suffering in states where medical marijuana is legal should be able to use the drug under a doctor's supervision to ease their pain without having to worry that the federal government is going to bust down their door and arrest them. It is immoral to deny people access to medicine that can help relieve their pain and suffering."

June 28, 2006 - Maurice Hinchey 

Mollie Fry, MD, a physician specializing in medical marijuana, stated the following in an Apr. 7, 2006 interview with

"I took an oath to do no harm. If a doctor is willing to give you a prescription for a drug that is addictive or could kill you, then why should you not be able to choose a non-toxic drug like marijuana?"

Apr. 7, 2006 - Mollie Fry, MD 

Drew Carey, Host of The Price is Right, stated the following in a Nov. 1, 2007 video titled "Drew Carey Defends Medical Marijuana":

"I think it's clear by now that the federal government needs to reclassify marijuana. People who need it should be able to get it -- safely and easily."

Nov. 1, 2007 - Drew Carey 

Kate Scannell, MD, Co-Director of the Kaiser-Permanente Northern California Ethics Department, wrote the following in a Feb. 16, 2003 article published in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"From working with AIDS and cancer patients, I repeatedly saw how marijuana could ameliorate a patient's debilitating fatigue, restore appetite, diminish pain, remedy nausea, cure vomiting and curtail down-to-the-bone weight loss. The federal obsession with a political agenda that keeps marijuana out of the hands of sick and dying people is appalling and irrational. Washington bureaucrats -- far removed from the troubled bedsides of sick and dying patients -- are ignoring what patients and doctors and health care workers are telling them about real world suffering.

The federal refusal to honor public referendums like California's voter-approved Medical Marijuana Initiative is as bewildering as it is ominous. Its refusal to listen to doctors groups like the California Medical Association that support compassionate use of medical marijuana is chilling.

In a society that has witnessed extensive positive experiences with medicinal marijuana, as long as it is safe and not proven to be ineffective, why shouldn't seriously ill patients have access to it? Why should an old woman be made to die a horrible death for a hollow political symbol?"

Feb. 16, 2003 - Kate Scannell, MD 

Jeffrey A. Miron, PhD, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University, wrote the following in a Feb. 2003 article titled "Reply to 'Marijuana, the Deceptive Drug'," published in the Massachusetts News:

"[C]haracterization of marijuana's effects is meant to suggest that the harms from marijuana are so great that no person who understood these harms would ever voluntarily consume marijuana. That characterization is not consistent with an objective assessment of the evidence."

Feb. 2003 - Jeffrey A. Miron, PhD 

Christine Smith, 2008 Libertarian Candidate for US President, wrote the following in a Nov. 12, 2007 email to

"In my opinion government agencies such as the FDA, and DEA stand in the way to American's health with all their regulations. Regulations delay and prohibit pain-relieving drugs and potentially helpful pharmaceuticals/treatments from being available to the American people... Specifically... marijuana should be legal for any purpose. I will end the 'War on Drugs.' I will end the suffering, deaths, and injustice imposed upon Americans by this insane policy. By executive order I intend to pardon people who have harmed no other person and are now incarcerated due to non-violent drug offenses."

Nov. 12, 2007 - Christine Smith 

Jesse L. Steinfeld, MD, former US Surgeon General, stated the following in July 2003, as quoted in the Marijuana Policy Project's (MPP) "Medical Marijuana Endorsements and Statements of Support," available on (accessed Jan. 27, 2009):

"It [marijuana] should be an option for patients who have it recommended by knowledgeable physicians. I don't recommend it for recreational use."

July 2003 - Jesse L. Steinfeld, MD 

Alexander Tabarrok, PhD, Vice President and Research Director of The Independent Institute, wrote the following in a Sep. 7, 1999 article titled "It's California Versus the Feds on Medical Marijuana," posted on The Independent Institute website:

"California's law [Prop. 215, which allowed the medical use of marijuana]is hardly unique. Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington have similar laws which were overwhelmingly adopted in voter initiatives. The voters showed good sense in permitting the medical use of marijuana. Numerous scientific studies show that marijuana is effective in treating a wide variety of disorders."

Sep. 7, 1999 - Alexander Tabarrok, PhD 

Jesse Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota, stated the following in response to a question from a student at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota on Apr. 4, 2001:

"Medical Marijuana? I fully support it, absolutely. Who is government to tell someone if they have AIDS or cancer, what they should be taking? To me, you've got a kid here with cancer, I don't give a damn if he smokes a joint."

Apr. 4, 2001 - Jesse Ventura 

Mary Lynn Mathre, MSN, RN, Co-founder and President of Patients Out of Time, wrote the following in her Nov.-Dec. 2000 article titled "A Virginia Nurse Takes on a Tough Issue: Medical Marijuana," published in The American Nurse:

"There are sick people out there for whom marijuana has made a world of difference. We give meds that can kill people, or ruin their liver. We put in feeding tubes for people who can't eat. We should be advocating for the rights of a patient to use this medication if it's helping them."

Nov.-Dec. 2000 - Mary Lynn Mathre, MSN, RN 

Andrew Weil, MD, Director of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, stated the following in a June 6, 2002 article titled "Stop the Federal War on Medical Marijuana," published in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"As a physician, I am frustrated that I cannot prescribe marijuana for patients who might benefit from it. At the very least I would like to be able to refer them to a safe, reliable, quality-controlled source."

June 6, 2002 - Andrew Weil, MD 

The Episcopal Church stated the following in a 1982 resolution passed by the 67th Convention of the Episcopal Church:

"The Episcopal Church urges the adoption by Congress and all states of statutes providing that the use of marijuana be permitted when deemed medically appropriate by duly liscensed medical practitioners."

1982 - Episcopal Church 

The Libertarian Party stated the following in a June 6, 2005 press release titled "Libertarian Party Condemns the Supreme Court Decision Against the Use of Medical Marijuana":

"The Libertarian Party is a long-standing advocate for individual liberty and believes that Americans should be responsible for their own actions and, in this case, be able to use alternative forms of medication outside of the realm of insurance companies and the pharmaceutical lobby. Working with like-minded groups, the Libertarian Party will help craft federal legislation that will assist individuals needing medical marijuana to pursue treatment methods without fear of arrest and prosecution by the federal government."

June 6, 2005 - Libertarian Party 

Lynn Zimmer, PhD, former Professor Emeritus at the Queens College, City University, New York (CUNY), and John P. Morgan, MD, Medical Professor Emeritus at CUNY Medical School, wrote the following in their 1997 book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts:

"The question is not whether marijuana is better than existing medication. For many medical conditions, there are numerous medications available, some of which work better in some patients and some which work better in others. Having the maximum number of effective medications available allows physicians to deliver the best possible medical care to individual patients."

1997 - John P. Morgan, MD 
Lynn Zimmer, PhD 

CON (no)

Matt Baker, Representative (R) in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, stated the following in his June 11, 2017 editorial titled "Why Oppose Legalizing Marijuana," available at

"There is a substantial amount of misleading information, causing many to believe that marijuana is harmless and is a panacea and miracle drug for a plethora of medical diseases, when the substantiated medical research that has been conducted up to this point simply does not support these claims.

That's why the leading professional medical organizations do not support legalization of marijuana outside the FDA approval process.

As a lawmaker, it is not my place to do an end run around the FDA and legalize artisanal drugs that people can grow, make products from and then sell for Commonwealth citizens to take, all without approval of the FDA, and outside what current medical practice allows."

June 11, 2017 - Matt Baker 

Mary Haag, RN, President & CEO of PreventionFIRST!, stated the following in an interview with reporter Todd Dykes, published in a Feb. 19, 2016 article titled "Should Fate of Medical Marijuana in Ohio Be Left in Hands of Lawmakers, Voters?," available at

"We can't really call marijuana medicine. It's not a legitimate medicine. The brain is not fully developed until we're about 25. That's just the way it is, and using any kind of mind-altering substance impacts that development. It needs to go through the FDA process. There is no drug that can or should be smoked, but when we get to potential components of marijuana that might have medicinal benefits, then let's find out what that is. Most of our medicines have come from plants.

They're plant-based, but they've gone through that rigorous process. Because, let's face it, any medicine is a toxin. I don't care if it's penicillin or aspirin or a narcotic. Any of those are toxins to our bodies. And that's why we have the FDA process."

Feb. 19, 2016 - Mary Haag, RN 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated in an Apr. 20, 2006 "Inter-Agency Advisory," posted on its website,, and confirmed as current position on Apr. 9, 2014:

"Marijuana is listed in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the most restrictive schedule. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which administers the CSA, continues to support that placement and FDA concurred because marijuana met the three criteria for placement in Schedule I under 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1) (e.g., marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision).

Furthermore, there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful. A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use."

Apr. 9, 2014 - US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 

Chuck Rosenberg, JD, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), stated the following in a press briefing, as quoted by Paula Reid and Stephanie Condon in their Nov. 4, 2015 article "DEA Chief Says Smoking Marijuana as Medicine 'Is a Joke,'" available at

"What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal -- because it's not… We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don't call it medicine -- that is a joke...

There are pieces of marijuana -- extracts or constituents or component parts -- that have great promise. But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana -- which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana -- it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine."

Nov. 4, 2015 - Chuck Rosenberg, JD 

Sanjay Gupta, MD, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, wrote the following in a Nov. 6, 2006 article titled "Why I Would Vote No on Pot," published in TIME magazine:

"Maybe it's because I was born a couple of months after Woodstock and wasn't around when marijuana was as common as iPods are today, but I'm constantly amazed that after all these years -- and all the wars on drugs and all the public-service announcements -- nearly 15 million Americans still use marijuana at least once a month...

Marijuana isn't really very good for you. True, there are health benefits for some patients. Several recent studies, including a new one from the Scripps Research Institute, show that THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the high, can help slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease. (In fact, it seems to block the formation of disease-causing plaques better than several mainstream drugs.) Other studies have shown THC to be a very effective antinausea treatment for people -- cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, for example -- for whom conventional medications aren't working. And medical cannabis has shown promise relieving pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients...

Frequent marijuana use can seriously affect your short-term memory. It can impair your cognitive ability (why do you think people call it dope?) and lead to long-lasting depression or anxiety. While many people smoke marijuana to relax, it can have the opposite effect on frequent users. And smoking anything, whether it's tobacco or marijuana, can seriously damage your lung tissue...

Despite all the talk about the medical benefits of marijuana, smoking the stuff is not going to do your health any good."

[Editor's Note: Sanjay Gupta was categorized as con medical marijuana until he made a pro statement on Aug. 8, 2013, found in the pro column on the left side of this page.]

Nov. 6, 2006 - Sanjay Gupta, MD 

Robert Whitney, MD, public policy chairman for the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, stated the following in a May 19, 2014 editorial titled "Another Voice: Use of Medical Marijuana Not Supported by Research" and published in the Buffalo News:

"There is not an adequate base of research that shows marijuana, in its most common form (smoked), is effective for treating any serious medical condition.

Therefore, no major group of medical experts supports the use of smoked marijuana for treatment of health problems...

We do not have enough information to reliably estimate the safety of marijuana when used long term. Most studies to date have followed patients for very short periods of time, often less than a week. This is not adequate to assess risk of use for indefinite periods of time. We do know that marijuana can contribute to short- and possibly long-term brain impairment, motor vehicle accidents, risk of addiction and an increased risk of long-term psychosis in vulnerable people."

May 19, 2014 - Robert B. Whitney, MD 

Kevin Sabet, PhD, Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, stated the following in his article titled "California Medical Association's Decision Not Based on Public Health," published Oct. 21, 2011 on the Huffington Post:

"The CMA [California Medical Association] has decided that the solution is completely to legalize marijuana for all purposes, both medical and recreational, and then study it. But this is backwards. With no other modern medication have we taken this approach. Can you imagine if we made some new psychoactive substance -- say Spice, K-2, or 'bath salts'-- fully legal before researching it?...

Furthermore, the raw marijuana plant material -- itself containing hundreds of unknown components -- has not met FDA's standards of safety and efficacy...

[W]e don't smoke opium to reap the benefits of morphine, nor do we chew willow bark to receive the effects of aspirin. Similarly, we should not have to smoke marijuana to get potential therapeutic effects from its components.

[M]edical marijuana as it stands today, in California and many other states, has turned into a sad joke. A recent study found that the average 'patient' was a 32-year-old white male with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and no history of a life-threatening disease...

Real medications must be fully studied, then approved by the FDA, then made available to patients by prescription."

Oct. 21. 2011 - Kevin Sabet, PhD 

Michael Bloomberg, MBA, former Mayor of New York City, stated the following on the May 31, 2013 airing of his WOR 710 radio show The John Gambling Show with Mayor Mike:

"There's no 'medical' [marijuana]. This is one of the great hoaxes of all time. The bottom line is, I'm told marijuana is much stronger today than it was 20-30 years ago. I don't have any personal experience, but in terms of today. So that's one problem. And number two, drug dealers have families to feed. If they can't sell marijuana, they'll sell something else. And the something else is gonna be worse. The push to legalize this is just wrong headed. If you think about what they say, 'It's not gonna hurt anybody, it doesn't lead to dependency.' Of course it does... This stuff is very dangerous."

May 31, 2013 - Michael Bloomberg, MBA 

Rudy Giuliani, JD, former Mayor of New York City, stated the following at an Oct. 3, 2007 town hall meeting in Windham, New Hampshire during his 2008 campaign for US President:

"I checked with the FDA [Food and Drug Administration].The FDA says marijuana has no additive medical benefit of any kind, that the illegal trafficking of marijuana is so great that it makes much more sense to keep it illegal. I will keep it illegal."

Oct. 3, 2007 - Rudy Giuliani, JD 

Mark Souder, Member of the US House of Representatives (R-IN), wrote the following in the "Issues: Medical Marijuana," section of his website, (accessed Sep. 5, 2007):

"The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency charged with protecting the health of Americans, has never found smoked marijuana to be a safe and effective drug. In April 2006, following my request, the FDA released an interagency advisory confirming that smoked marijuana is not medicine because: (1) marijuana has a high potential for abuse; (2) it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (3) it has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. The advisory also stated: '...there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful.'

The FDA has approved Marinol, however, and I support the availability of this prescription drug, which is currently available to patients. Marinol pills contain synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana."

Sep. 4, 2007 - Mark Souder 

John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ) and 2008 Republican Presidential candidate, stated the following during a Sep. 30, 2007 campaign Town Hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire:

"Every medical expert I know of, including the AMA [American Medical Association], says that there are much more effective and much better treatments for pain than medical marijuana... I still would not support medical marijuana because I don't think that the preponderance of medical opinion in America agrees with [the] assertion that it's the most effective way of treating pain."

Sep. 30, 2007 - John McCain 

Henry Miller, MD, former Director of the Office of Biotechnology at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wrote the following in an Apr. 28, 2006 editorial published in the New York Times:

"In their 1999 report, the Institute of Medicine's panel of experts flatly rejected the idea that herbal (usually smoked) cannabis would ever be considered a safe and effective medicine for widespread use... Smoked marijuana cannot be subjected to careful, well-controlled trials, because it does not come in a standard, reproducible formula or dose, and cannot meet the accepted standards for drug purity, potency and quality. Different strains of cannabis vary radically in their cannabinoid composition and in the contaminants -- fungi, bacteria, pesticides, heavy metals and other substances -- they contain. And smoking is not a precise way of delivering any substance to the bloodstream. Other plant-derived drugs -- morphine, codeine and Taxol, to name a few -- have made it through the F.D.A.'s review process, and there is no reason drugs made from cannabis should not be required to meet the same standards."

Apr. 28, 2006 - Henry Miller, MD 

Michael D. Roth, MD, Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Donald P. Tashkin, MD, Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratories at the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote the following in an Apr. 17, 1997 Letter to the Editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

"To the Editor: You point to largely experiential evidence of the medicinal benefits of marijuana and the apparent absence of serious short-term toxicity. However, a note of caution is warranted. Although it is true that smoking marijuana carries no immediate risk of death, there may be serious adverse effects in the very patients for whom medicinal marijuana is most commonly considered (i.e., those whose immune defenses are already compromised by AIDS or cancer plus chemotherapy). For example, in patients with AIDS, marijuana use has been associated with the development of both fungal and bacterial pneumonias. Moreover, among HIV-positive persons, marijuana use has been shown to be a risk factor for rapid progression from HIV infection to AIDS and the acquisition of opportunistic infections or Kaposi's sarcoma, or both.

Cellular studies and studies in animals lend support to these potential health consequences of marijuana."

Apr. 17, 1997 - Michael D. Roth, MD 
Donald P. Tashkin, MD 

Mitt Romney, JD, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following at an Oct. 4, 2007 town hall event in Manchester, New Hampshire:

"I believe marijuana should be illegal in our country. It is the pathway to drug usage by our society, which is a great scourge -- which is one of the great causes of crime in our cities. And I believe that we are at a state where, of course, we are very concerned about people who are suffering pain, and there are various means of providing pain management. And those that have had loved ones that have gone through an end of life with cancer know the nature of real pain. I watched my wife's mom and dad, both in our home, both going through cancer treatment, suffering a great deal of pain. But they didn't have marijuana, and they didn't need marijuana because there were other sources of pain management that worked entirely effectively. I'm told there is even a synthetic marijuana as well that is available. But having legalized marijuana, in my view, is an effort by a very committed few to try and get marijuana out into the public and ultimately legalize marijuana. It's a long way to go. We need less drugs in this society, not more drugs, and I would oppose the legalization of marijuana in the country or legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes because pain management is available from other sources."

Oct. 4, 2007 - Mitt Romney, JD 

Bill Frist, MD, former US Senator (R-TN), wrote the following in an Oct. 20, 2003 email to

"As a physician I have sympathy for patients suffering from pain and other medical conditions. Although I understand many believe marijuana is the most effective drug in combating their medical ailments, I would caution against this assumption due to the lack of consistent, repeatable scientific data available to prove marijuana's benefits. Based on current evidence, I believe that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that there are less dangerous medicines offering the same relief from pain and other medical symptoms."

Oct. 20, 2003 - Bill Frist, MD 

Mark L. Kraus, MD, former President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, stated the following in his Feb. 26, 2007 testimony to the Judiciary Committee in Hartford, Connecticut:

"Proponents of the legalization of medical marijuana create the impression that it is a reasonable alternative to conventional drugs. But unlike conventional drugs, smokable marijuana has not passed the rigorous scrutiny of scientific investigation and has not been found safe and effective in treating pain, nausea and vomiting, or wasting syndrome... It has no credibility. It has not passed the rigors of scientific investigation. It has not demonstrated significant efficacy in symptom relief. And, it causes harm."

Feb. 26, 2007 - Mark L. Kraus, MD 

Richard H. Schwartz, MD, physician in Advanced Pediatrics at INOVA Fairax Hospital for Children in Vienna, Virginia, wrote the following in a July 14, 1994 Letter to the Editor, published in the New England Journal of Medicine:

"support of the use of marijuana for medical purposes is scientifically unfounded. There is no evidence that marijuana is superior to ondansetron (Zofran), dexamethasone, or synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (Marinol) as an antiemetic in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Nor is there scientific evidence to support the use of marijuana for AIDS-associated anorexia, depression, epilepsy, narrow-angle glaucoma, or spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. As a crude drug, moreover, marijuana has been shown to produce undesirable mental changes, disturbances in coordination, giddiness, and hypotension in at least 25 percent of novice users, especially elderly persons."

July 14, 1994 - Richard H. Schwartz, MD 

Andrea Barthwell, MD, former Deputy Director at the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, stated the following in a speech given in Belleville, Illinois on Feb. 8, 2005:

"It is not a medicine. You don't know what's in it. If there were compelling scientific and medical data supporting marijuana's medical benefits that would be one thing. But the data is not there."

Feb. 8, 2005 - Andrea Barthwell, MD 

Joseph A. Califano, Jr., LLB, former US Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, stated the following in a Sep. 30, 1997 article published in the Washington Post:

"Before following the Pied Pipers of medical marijuana, voters should take into account recent research which reveals some sharp edges of smoking pot that undermines its popular status as a 'soft' drug and underscore the need for a major biomedical research program."

Sep. 30, 1997 - Joseph A. Califano, Jr., LLB 

Reese T. Jones, MD, PhD, Director of the Drug Dependence Research Center, stated an Oct. 21, 1996 editorial titled "No on 215: Pot Is Bad Medicine," cowritten with Avram Goldstein, and published in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Proposition 215, the 'Medical Marijuana Initiative' on the Nov. 5 [1996] ballot, is not the compassionate law advertised by its proponents... Here are some facts that they never mention:

* No written prescription or record of any kind is required; an oral 'recommendation' by a physician suffices. It is not required that the physician examine or even see the 'patient...'

* The initiative authorizes smoking of marijuana for more than the two conditions for which THC has been proved useful. It covers a whole list of complaints, including chronic pain, arthritis or 'any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.' Hay fever? Headache? Depression? Stress? Boredom?

* No age limitation is stated, so children could obtain marijuana if a physician could be found to provide an oral 'recommendation.'

* The initiative sets a terrible precedent. It subverts the system, a process based on good science, that protects American consumers against fraudulent claims and dangerous drugs.

That is the role of the FDA in protecting public health. Consumers of medicines have no expertise to evaluate claims. Thus, for a purely medical and scientific issue to be decided by the voters opens the way to undercutting safeguards established over the years in the federal Pure Food and Drug laws."

Oct. 21, 1996 - Reese T. Jones, MD, PhD 

Nicholas A. Pace, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University Medical Center, wrote the following in an Apr. 26, 2006 "Letter to the Editor," published in the New York Times:

"Recent research shows that marijuana has detrimental effects on the brain, lungs, heart and fertility. The THC (the main ingredient in marijuana) content in marijuana used today is twice as strong as 30 years ago.

The false impression that there is a medical need for marijuana confuses and misleads a poorly informed compassionate public in believing that the medical profession is withholding helpful medication from the sick."

Apr. 26, 2006 - Nicholas A. Pace, MD 

Janet Lapey, MD, Executive Director of Concerned Citizens for Drug Prevention, Inc., stated the following in her Oct. 1, 1997 statement to the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary in the House of Representatives:

"Marijuana is not the safe drug portrayed by the marijuana lobby. It is addictive; it adversely affects the immune system; leads to the use of other drugs such as cocaine; is linked to cases of cancer; causes respiratory diseases, mental disorders, including psychosis, depression, panic attacks, hallucinations, paranoia, decreased cognitive performance, disconnected thought, delusions, and impaired memory."

Oct. 1, 1997 - Janet Lapey, MD 

Donald Gross, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Alberta, wrote the following in a Mar. 29, 2005 article titled "Medicinal Marijuana on Trial," published in the New York Times:

"There's not been a randomized, controlled trial demonstrating that marijuana or any cannabinoid is any more effective in controlled seizures than a placebo. It's terribly complicated from a physician's standpoint, and somewhat frustrating. We have a product that has been legitimized without any evidence of efficacy."

Mar. 29, 2005 - Donald Gross, MD 

Gabriel Nahas, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Anesthesiology and Medicine at Columbia University, et al., wrote the following in a Mar. 11, 1997 article titled "Marihuana Is the Wrong Medicine," published in the Wall Street Journal:

"The debate over using marihuana as medicine has been distorted by a basic confusion: the implicit assumption that smoking marihuana is a better therapy than the ingestion of its active therapeutic agent THC or a more effective one than approved medications. This assumption is wrong. THC (also known as Marinol) is an approved remedy that may be prescribed by physicians for nausea and AIDS wasting syndrome. It is safer than marihuana smoke."

Mar. 11, 1997 - Gabriel Nahas, MD, PhD 

Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 Republican Candidate for US President, stated the following at a Sep. 29, 2007 campaign stop in Londonderry, New Hampshire:

"You've asked me the question about medical marijuana... my concern is, as much as I want to see something happen that would ease your pain, I'm not sure and I've not been convinced with medical evidence by independent research... that clearly says that it is more effective than other forms of pain medication, whether it's narcotic or analgesic. And so what I want to do is, if somebody can present to me scientifically and objectively, then I would certainly give a different consideration... I think the question is, would I favor the legalization at a federal level, and until there's some scientific evidence, I'm reluctant to do that."

Sep. 29, 2007 - Mike Huckabee 

Jerry Dyer, MS, Fresno Chief of Police and President of the California Police Chief's Association, wrote the following in an Apr. 16, 2008 letter to the Deputy Director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police:

"Based on the almost 12 years of medical marijuana experience in the state of California it is our observation that it has been destructive to lives and communities. Passage of any form of medical marijuana anywhere in our nation is bad public policy and will cause crime and public safety problems."

Apr. 16, 2008 - Jerry Dyer, MS 

Robert DeLorenzo, MD, PhD, MPH, Professor of Neurology in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, stated the following in a Sep. 30, 2003 university press release, titled "Marijuana and Its Receptor Protein in Brain Control Epilepsy":

"Individuals both here and abroad report that marijuana has been therapeutic for them in the treatment of a variety of ailments, including epilepsy. But the psychoactive side effects of marijuana make its use impractical in the treatment of epilepsy. If we can understand how marijuana works to end seizures, we may be able to develop novel drugs that might do a better job of treating epileptic seizures."

Sep. 30, 2003 - Robert DeLorenzo, MD, PhD, MPH 

Jerry McNerney, PhD, Member of the US House of Representatives (D-CA), stated the following in July 26, 2007 remarks to the press to explain why he voted against the 2007 Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment to end DEA medical marijuana raids:

"We are facing a drug crisis with meth and other drug use on the rise. Until we get a handle on the crippling drug use in our society, I cannot support the relaxation of current drug policy."

July 26, 2007 - Jerry McNerney, PhD 

Peter Provet, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Odyssey House, wrote the following in an Apr. 26, 2006 Letter to the Editor, published in the New York Times:

"As a treatment provider, I support the Food and Drug Administration's dismissal of medical benefit from marijuana.

Regardless of the heated political debate that swirls around this issue, the fact remains that despite the Institute of Medicine's claim to the contrary, for people vulnerable to addictive disease, marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the use of more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin...

Not everyone who smokes marijuana will necessarily become an addict. But why open the gate to increased use for the sake of unproven medical benefits when we already know the harm that marijuana inflicts on millions of Americans?"

Apr. 26, 2006 - Peter Provet, PhD 

Wayne Roques, former President of Drug Watch International, stated the following in the Apr. 8, 1993 article titled "Medical Marijuana Pain Sufferers Who Smoke for Relief Want to End Stigma of Breaking Law," published in the Miami Herald,:

"There are other medicines that are just as good with less- damaging side effects. Marijuana gives false hope to people that it is the solution to their problems."

Apr. 8, 1993 - Wayne Roques 

Karen P. Tandy, JD, former Administrator of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), stated the following during her Senate Confirmation hearing, in an Apr. 30, 2003 document titled "Responses of Karen Tandy to Questions Submitted by Senator Durbin":

"The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, has been accepted as having medicinal value when processed into Marinol. Marijuana itself, however, has not been shown to have medical benefits; accodrdingly, I have no basis for believing that marijuana, and smoking marijuana, has any such benefits."

Apr. 30, 2003 - Karen P. Tandy, JD 

Eric A. Voth, MD, Chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy, wrote the following in a Nov. 2001 editorial titled "Guidelines for Prescribing Medical Marijuana," published in the Western Journal of Medicine:

"Physicians should remember that marijuana remains a schedule I drug, that it has not been approved as safe and efficacious by the Food and Drug Administration, and that the use of marijuana by patients holds inherent risk. We do not support recommending the medicinal use of marijuana."

Nov. 2001 - Eric A. Voth, MD 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology stated the following in its May 2003 Task Force on Complementary Therapies "Assessment of Marijuana in the Treatment of Glaucoma":

"Based on reviews by the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the Institute of Medicine and on available scientific evidence, the Task Force on Complementary Therapies believes that no scientific evidence has been found that demonstrates increased benefits and/or diminished risks of marijuana use to treat glaucoma compared with the wide variety of pharmaceutical agents now available...

The [American] Academy [of Ophthalmology] Task Force on Complementary Therapies believes that based on a search of published peer-reviewed literature, no scientific evidence has been found that demonstrates increased benefits and/or diminished risks of marijuana use to treat glaucoma compared with the wide variety of pharmaceutical agents now available."

May 2003 - American Academy of Ophthalmology 

The Drug Free America Foundation stated the following in a section on its website titled "Q&A: Marijuana" (accessed Aug. 16, 2007):

"Many who claim to need marijuana medicinally simply want to use it recreationally. In states with marijuana dispensaries, the vast majority of 'patients' are young men between the ages of 18 and 25, not the cancer or AIDS victims used in voter ads to exploit our compassionate nature...

'Medicalizing' this harmful substance has caused truly ill people to refuse proper medical care, thinking that because marijuana makes them feel better they are getting better. Medical practitioners and others who are truly concerned for the sick have higher standards and greater compassion – we want the ill to receive the medicine they need.

The medical excuse marijuana movement has become a device used by special interest groups to exploit the sick and dying and well-meaning voters for their own purposes."

Aug. 16, 2007 - Drug Free America Foundation 

Drug Watch International wrote the following in its July 30, 2001 "Position Statement on Marijuana for Medical Use," posted on its website:

"Smoked marijuana is neither an acceptable medical treatment nor an alternative medical treatment for any illness. Marijuana use has serious health consequences. Concentration, motor coordination, memory, lungs, reproductive and immune systems are all adversely impacted by marijuana use; marijuana is addictive. Physicians who treat people for cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and other diseases do not favor the use of marijuana. Not one American health organization accepts marijuana as medicine. These include the American Medical Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Glaucoma Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Cancer Society. FDA/DEA have repeatedly rejected marijuana for medicinal use. Marijuana fails to meet any of the Drug Enforcement Administration's requirements or Federal Drug Administration's eight criteria for approving drugs for medical use."

July 30, 2001 - Drug Watch International 

The Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group, stated the following in an article titled "Facts You Need To Know About ... Marijuana," posted on its website (accessed Mar. 1, 2006):

"There is no legitimate need for marijuana as medicine. Pills containing THC are already available with a physician's prescription. The legalization of raw marijuana for medicine is merely an indirect means of legalizing pot for recreational use."

Mar. 1, 2006 - Eagle Forum 

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) stated the following in the document "National Drug Control Strategy 2001," available on the ONDCP website:

"The Administration is adamantly opposed to the use of marijuana outside of authorized research. However, legitimate medications containing marijuana components have proven effective in relieving the symptoms of some medical conditions… In light of the need for research-based evidence, ONDCP asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in January 1997 to review all scientific evidence concerning the medical use of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids… The IOM study concluded that there is little future in smoked marijuana as medication.

Although marijuana smoke delivers THC and other cannabinoids to the body, it also contains harmful substances, including most of those found in tobacco smoke. The long-term harms from smoking make it a poor drug delivery system, particularly for pregnant women and patients with chronic diseases. In addition, cannabis contains a variable mixture of biologically active compounds. Even in cases where marijuana can provide symptomatic relief, the crude plant does not meet the modern expectation that medicines be of known quality and composition. Nor can smoked tmarijuana guarantee precise dosage. If there is any future for cannabinoid medications, it lies with agents of certain composition and delivery systems that permit controlled doses."

2001 - Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a website dedicated to the health interests of teenagers, stated the following in a Dec. 26, 2002 feature on it site in the "Q&A/Articles" section:

"If there is any benefit to the medical use of marijuana, which remains to be proven, it rests in THC, the active ingredient, and not in the smoke and other chemical contaminants found in the crude plant. We believe that the risks of marijuana use outweigh any potential benefits."

Dec. 26, 2002 - 

Robert C. Bonner, JD, stated the following in a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times titled "Re: 'On Marijuana, Just the Facts," printed July 15, 2011:

"Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance not because it is more dangerous than morphine or cocaine (it isn't) but because it has no scientifically proven medical use.

When I headed the DEA, I adopted the same policy as the Food and Drug Administration for approving a new drug: whether there are scientific studies demonstrating that a drug is safe and effective. At that time, there were no such studies indicating that marijuana was safe and effective for any medical purpose.

If the proponents of medical marijuana would finance some true double-blind studies by impartial researchers, as opposed to funding more medical marijuana initiatives, we would finally know if marijuana is medically effective. Still, one has to wonder how safe a medicine is that is smoked."

July 15, 2011 - Robert C. Bonner, JD