Drug Law

Ex Dep. Drug Czar Still Wants to Profit from Pot Prohibition

| by NORML

Reading a puff piece on one of the most disingenuous anti-cannabis activists in America, Dr. Andrea Barthwell of IL and VA, made my eyes roll as the contradictions and hypocrisies kept coming out–like a parade of clowns in one’s mind.

From Crain’s Chicago Business

Andrea Barthwell, 55, provides medical consulting, forensic work and lectures for clients as president of Encounter Medical Group P.C. in River Forest and founder and CEO of EMGlobal LLC, based in Arlington, Va. What she prescribes:

News from alternative sources such as www.projectcensored.org and www.reddit.com. “Members post stories from a variety of media; it tells you what people are thinking and talking about.” Scouts Chicago Tribune, New York Times and USA Today for health-related human-interest stories; traveling three weeks a month, reads medical articles via laptop.

An M.D. and former deputy drug czar under George W. Bush, follows A&E’s “Intervention.” Tweets relevant articles as @DrAGB: “I’m an addictionista.”

A prominent opponent of legalizing marijuana, she consults for a company developing a drug that’s a marijuana extract “because drugs are tested under the highest scientific standards and subject to FDA approval; the crude plant is not.” Follows the issue via the Marijuana Policy Project, Naperville-based www.educatingvoices.org and www.norml.org, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.


Finds comfort in Alexander McCall Smith’s series, “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” based in Botswana. “A smart mystery and no loose ends; everyone winds up happy.”


Creates iPod playlists for writing, reading and cooking. In the mix: “Anything Motown; Ludacris, Andrea Bocelli and Corinne Bailey Ray. She can moan like nobody else.” Finds new music at www.pandora.com. “That’s how I discovered Amy Winehouse.”


Works crossword puzzles and studies “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Playing Guitar.” “I got a Martin acoustic guitar last Christmas; I’m guarding against Alzheimer’s.”

Here we go…Dr. Barthwell has made a career and a lot of money advocating that the American public should be drug tested en mass, all children should be randomly drug tested, students should lose their loans upon a simple cannabis arrest; as well as the mass arrests, prosecutions and incarcerations of cannabis consumers.

She has testified against medical access to cannabis and that the American farmer should be prohibited from cultivating industrial hemp.

She is one of the relatively few physicians in America that believes that the criminal justice system is preferable to decriminalization. Then again, it is so much easier to make money when the government does most of the dirty work, creates prohibition-related industries, like the ones that literally bring the clients to the money-makers in handcuffs, such as private prisons or to so-called ‘addiction specialists’ like Dr. Barthwell (since the late 1990s, most of the clients of addiction specialists like Barthwell are forced into their offices after being presented with the Hobson’s Choice by the government post-arrest of either going to jail or to visit–and pay!–the Dr. Barthwell’s of the world).

But here is where the ironies and contradictions just have to make one laugh at the absurdity found in some of the self-interested players in cannabis prohibition like Barthwell–a prohibition profiteer to rival any street level drug dealer.

Taking these laugh points on in sequential order…

Dr. Barthwell recommends projectcensored? The Projectcensored that recently featured the harms and costs of cannabis prohibition arrests as a highly censored mainstream media topic? Dr. Barthwell recommends reading the Chicago Tribune, New York Times and USA Today…but, does she actually read them as, ironically, all of these paper’s editorial boards (and most every columnist) traditionally support both decriminalizing cannabis and medical access to the plant.

One of the specific ways Dr. Barthwell makes money off of cannabis prohibition these days–post doing so on the taxpayer’s expense while at the ONDCP for years–is to work for pharmaceutical companies that are trying to develop cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals where she essentially argues that ‘pills and suppositories (possibly consisting of pure THC!)’ are A-OK, but a physician-instructed patient is a criminal if they use the whole plant material; patients should have no access to whole-smoked cannabis. Period.

Dr. Barthwell claims to monitor opponents like NORML and MPP as well, and that she recommends an extreme anti-cannabis organization called www.educatingvoices.org. The folks at Educating Voices (Dr. Barthwell’s home state anti-cannabis organization in IL) should be happy she visits their webpage, because according to the webpage ranking site Alexa.com, almost nobody visits their webpage.

If the marketplace of ideas and equal access to information means anything at all, cannabis law reform webpages are much, much more popular than anti-cannabis webpages.

Alexa Ranking: NORML (26,000), MPP (91,000) and EducatingVoices (19 million...)

Dr. Barthwell’s recommendations on music are also ironic to the point of absurd. Ludicris? Dr. Barthwell wants American youth to listen and watch Ludicris? The same Ludicris who performs a cannabis-loving rap song in an industrial cannabis cultivation farm that is as bright as the center of the sun?


Amy Winehouse
? Do I need to write more?

By all means Dr. Barthwell, more people should buy and support the musical careers of cannabis consumers like Ludicris and Ms. Winehouse!

Lastly, Dr. Barthwell jests that she’d like to possibly stave of the affects of Alzheimer’s by learning how to play a newly acquired Martin guitar.

I have a suggestion: Why not take guitar lessons from a notable NORML supporter, who happens to own and performs almost daily on the world’s most famous Martin guitar, who has penned over 2,000 songs and could surely help you possibly stave off the affects of Alzheimer’s with his ever-present medicine, who has been known to share from time to time, town to town…