The Federal Government Has Been Dealing Marijuana

By: Rachelle Ferraro Attorney at Law

While the DEA and the FDA have continuously refused to acknowledge the benefits and efficacy of medical marijuana during the last forty-five years, the federal government has actually been dealing marijuana to a small and select group of patients for almost as long. Yes, the federal government has been growing, harvesting, packaging and distributing pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes as medicine. These government-rolled joints come packaged neatly 300 cigarettes to a metal tin and are provided free of charge. How did the Feds get into medical marijuana distribution?

On August 21, 1975, Robert C. Randall was arrested in Washington, D.C. for growing marijuana on the porch of his residence. He testified at trial that he knew possessing marijuana was illegal but his glaucoma left him no other viable option to blindness. All traditional medicines had failed. Federal District Court Judge James A. Washington ruled the common law doctrine of “necessity” was an affirmative defense applicable to Mr. Randall.  That ruling allowed Mr. Randall to excuse the “evil” he committed when he broke the law in growing marijuana at his home by the “greater evil” of blindness he was seeking to avoid. Mr. Randall beat his criminal charges.

After his victory, Mr. Randall petitioned the federal government to provide him with FDA approved access to governmental grown marijuana. Following additional litigation, the FDA created a program wherein the government would provide marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi to Mr. Randall.

Over time, a small number of other medical marijuana patients were approved to take part in the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program, as it was named. At its peak, the program had thirty (30) active patients receiving their medical marijuana from the government.

The program stopped accepting new patients in 1992 during George H.W. Bush’s “get tough on crime” policies. However, the then 13 enrolled patients were “grandfathered in” to continue to receive their medication for the remainder of their lives. While it is difficult to get information on the exact number of remaining participants still living, it is believed there may be one or two participants alive today. Why the Hypocrisy of the Federal Position? How can the federal government be providing marijuana to patients as medicine yet at the same time, claiming that it has “no currently accepted medical use?” 

That is exactly what the government has done by time and time again refusing to re-classify the drug from Schedule I, the most restrictive category, reserved for the most dangerous drugs. This writer suspects the answer is three-fold. Big pharmaceutical companies do not want to lose market share to something that can be grown on your porch; the DEA has grown quite large due to and as a result of its marijuana war and no government has ever voluntarily downsized; and finally prejudice and ignorant stigma still surrounds marijuana and its users. Until the people force our government to acknowledge what we all know is true, our government will continue to pursue the fallacy.

The Federal Government Has Been Dealing Marijuana

Rachelle Ferraro Attorney at Law

2198 E Camelback Rd #310, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Phone: (602) 795-0770

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