Advocates for the medical use of marijuana are pursuing a novel effort to get the federal government to ease restrictions on the illicit drug, says the Washington Post. Americans for Safe Access, a Berkeley, Calif., coalition of patients and doctors, planned to file a petition with the Department of Health and Human Services charging the agency with spreading inaccurate information about the drug’s medical value.
Previous efforts to ease marijuana access relied on the courts and have dragged on for years. The new petition invokes the Data Quality Act, which gives people the right to challenge scientific information disseminated by federal agencies. The law demands that agencies respond within two months. The new petition seeks to dismiss government assertions that marijuana is dangerous and medically useless, saying they contradict findings of the Institute of Medicine and other sources. David Murray of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, agreed it is “beyond dispute” that marijuana’s efficacy has been assessed and potential benefits identified. He dismissed as “lame” the Berkeley group’s assertion that pot has “currently accepted” medical uses in the U.S. — a key requirement for reassignment of its status.