While she opposed marijuana decriminalization during her first run for the presidency in 2007, according to Politico, candidate Hillary Clinton now provides support for so-called “medical marijuana.” She attributes her decision to “medical research,” which leads her further to seek a liberalization of how marijuana is classified under federal law.
Perhaps she is angling for the coveted Democratic pro-drug vote and needs to position herself with regards to fellow Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, whose drug posture, supporting legalization, approaches that of Willie Nelson.
It’s hard to know what medical research candidate Clinton is relying upon, since her support runs counter to not only recent medical reports on the subject, it contradicts the findings of government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
The FDA recently reiterated its stance on “medical marijuana” with their interagency assessment that it is a drug with a high potential for abuse and no accepted use as an approved medicine, and that claims that it is a “medicine” are not founded.
Meanwhile, in the New England Journal of Medicine and, according to a review of “medical marijuana” found in the Journal of the American Medical Association, not only are claims of therapeutic efficacy weak, the research largely fails to meet necessary medical standards for drug approval.
Further, unproven claims about “medical marijuana” have proven to be not only issues specifically for women’s health, but also of concern to America’s veterans. Recent findings from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show great risk for embryos of maternal users of marijuana, because of the adverse brain impact of the intoxicating element THC.
Moreover, Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrists have raised alarms concerning efforts to provide smoked marijuana to returning vets suffering from PTSD, noting that the risks are great and that use of the drug is contraindicated, especially given its association with psychosis.
When candidate Clinton concludes that we need “a lot more research so that we know exactly how we’re going to help people for whom medical marijuana provides relief,” she may be placing her political ambitions above the findings of medical science and the guidance of key federal health agencies whose leadership serves at the pleasure of the leader of her party.
David W. Murray is co-director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Substance Abuse Policy Research.