Supreme Court Rules Against Medical Marijuana
Justices Say Federal Government Can Prosecute in States That Have Legalized Medical Marijuana
WebMD News Archive
Debating the Role of the FDA
Medical marijuana opponents say that any of the drug's potential benefits
can be realized by prescription forms of THC. One drug, Marinol, is available
in the U.S. A liquid form, known as Sativex, was approved in April in
Opponents of medical marijuana also caution that states passing medical
marijuana laws or popular ballot initiatives are dangerously bypassing the
The agency is set up to systematically review the risks and benefits of
drugs using scientific evaluations that the public cannot access on its own,
says Richard L. DuPont, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University
and former White House Drug Czar from 1973 to 1978.
"For a hundred years, we have worked out a system that is designed to
protect the public health based on efficacy and safety. The idea that you would
have medicines approved by ballot initiative is really frightening to me in
terms of the public health," says DuPont, who co-authored an
amicus brief supporting the Bush administration in the case.
Others, including California's biggest doctors' group, see the threat of
federal drug raids as an inappropriate intrusion into the physician-patient
"We think that there's still a lot to learn about the efficacy of
medical marijuana. But the government was deciding on behalf of doctors and
patients what the appropriate care is, and that is inappropriate," says
Jack Lewin, MD, a family physician and CEO of the California Medical
Other cases testing the legality of marijuana are likely to follow. In
another case currently in federal court in California, activists are trying to
show that the Constitution gives patients the right to ease their suffering
with now illegal marijuana.
"Raich will not be the end or the final work in the federal
courts," Abrahamson says.