Drug Law

Drug Czar Blames Marijuana Lie on Heat Stroke

| by Reason Foundation

by Jacob Sullum

During a recent visit to Seattle, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske seemed to blame his blatantly inaccurate statement that marijuana "has no medicinal benefit" on a heat-addled brain:

We had been hiking in 107-degree weather in the Sierra Nevadas, and when we came down, the question was in reference to smoked marijuana, and as you know, smoked marijuana has not been shown by the FDA to have, to show, medicinal value. This is a medical question, and that's where we're going to leave it.

But even in the air-conditioned studios of KOMO, a Seattle TV station, Kerlikowske could not manage to get it right. It is not correct to say that smoked marijuana "has no medicinal benefit" either. You could argue that the plant should not be smoked, that it's better to avoid inhaling combustion products by using a vaporizer, by eating marijuana-laced baked goods, by spraying a cannabis extract under your tongue, or even by swallowing an FDA-approved capsule containing synthetic THC. But the fact that federal regulators so far have approved only that last method does not mean the other modes of administration are ineffective.

When I first discussed Kerlikowske's denial of marijuana's well-established medical utility, I wrote that if "you say something like 'marijuana has no medicinal benefit,' you are either a liar or an idiot." A couple of weeks ago, I elaborated on the former possibility, but now I am leaning toward the latter explanation.

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Read more on OpposingViews.com: Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske Lies About Medical Marijuana