Despite marijuana being legal at some level across much of the United States, the federal government is getting ready to drop a whopping $69 million this year to prevent all of us from smoking weed. This according to a recent Bloomberg financial analysis of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which indicates three out of every four dollars of their 2014 budget has been spent studying the perils of marijuana abuse and addiction, not the potential medicinal benefits.
The federal anti-drug agency, which just so happens to control the green light of all national cannabis research, claims that marijuana is in vogue: a hot commodity that “will peak like tobacco then people will see their error,” said NIDA director, Nora Volkow.
Yet, while the agency makes predictions about the future of a plant that has existed on this planet far longer than their biased opinions, they continue to sink a wealth of finances into researching it for its potential hazards, while keeping those interested in studying the plant for its positive benefits at bay. The agency is not “set up to study potential medical benefits, so it’s inappropriate for NIDA to have a monopoly on supply,” said Dan Riffle, with the national chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project.
During a recent interview with Rick Doblin, the executive director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), he said it took his organization three years before NIDA approved them for research to examine how marijuana can be used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans. Now, the federal agency claims they will not have enough of the organization’s specified high CBD strain until 2015.
It’s for this very reason that organizations like MAPS and MPP are calling for the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow growers other than the University of Mississippi to cultivate research marijuana.
When it comes to legal weed, although Volkow believes that even experimenting with marijuana can lead to addiction, she says she is somewhat interested in findings that say otherwise. “I’m open to the data, that’s why we do research,” she said. “But based on what I’ve seen, I predict that it’s going to be negative and we’re going to be in a position of trying to deal with the consequences.”
In the meantime, NIDA is overseeing over half of the 54 active grants approved by the National Health Institute to explore the therapeutic benefits of marijuana, as well as the development of marijuana addiction treatments. “We’re trying to do what interventions we can do now because we don’t want to wait until it’s proven harmful,” said Volkow.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.