On February 13, 2013, MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D., once again contacted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reminding the agency that more than three and a half months had passed since we resubmitted the protocol for our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved study of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD in 50 U.S. veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. “Given the dramatic move in public opinion in support of medical marijuana programs, medical marijuana research, and marijuana legalization,” Doblin writes, “Can you help me understand why the Obama Administration still insists on obstructing medical marijuana research?”
Subject: More than 3 1/2 Months for PHS Marijuana/PTSD Protocol Review-2/13/14 NYTimes op-ed on federal obstruction of research
Date: February 13, 2014
From: Rick Doblin, MAPS
To: Sarah Wattenberg, HHS
I imagine that you aren’t too happy to have the unenviable job of being the point person for obstructing privately-funded, FDA and IRB-approved medical marijuana research.
It’s now more than 3 1/2 months since Oct. 24, 2013, when MAPS submitted our FDA and IRB-approved protocol to you for the PHS review. As the saying goes, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” MAPS is the conservative wing of the medical marijuana movement in that we are focused on conducting FDA-regulated research but our efforts are not welcomed.
Today’s NYTimes had an op-ed discussing the federal obstruction of medical marijuana research. Unfortunately from my perspective, the article focuses on rescheduling marijuana to facilitate research, which isn’t necessary or likely, and doesn’t mention the PHS protocol review process which is the key obstruction along with the NIDA monopoly.
We’re doing our best to focus public attention on the PHS review process but we have been less successful than I have hoped. I anticipate greater success in the future illuminating the problematic PHS review process. We are considering bringing some vets to DC to protest the delays in the PHS review process but we’ll hopefully receive some favorable news from you before we organize the protest.
Do you have any idea when this interminable PHS review process will come to a conclusion, with either permission or rejection to purchase NIDA marijuana? I’m aware, as I am sure you are also aware, that even if we pass the PHS review, we still need to obtain DEA approval for the protocol before we can start the study. About 2200 vets have committed suicide since we submitted our protocol to you for review. Given the dramatic move in public opinion in support of medical marijuana programs, medical marijuana research, and marijuana legalization, can you help me understand why the Obama Administration still insists on obstructing medical marijuana research and hasn’t yet ended the PHS review process?