Scientists advocate marijuana for the ill

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has called on the federal government to aggressively research marijuana's medicinal use for the seriously ill.

In a November 15, 1994, petition to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, the FAS pointed out that whole cannabis is already in clinical use by patients suffering a variety of illnesses, including AIDS and epilepsy.

The Federation, in a one-sentence petition, said: "based on much evidence from patients and doctors alike on the superior effectiveness and safety of whole cannabis ... we hereby petition the Executive Branch and the Congress to facilitate and expedite the research necessary to determine whether this substance should be licensed for medical use by seriously ill persons."

In releasing the petition, the Federation noted that it did not have a policy on whether the law should be changed with regard to non-medical uses of marijuana.

It said it simply wanted to ensure that the research necessary to determine whether marijuana should be legally available for extremely ill persons was completed promptly.

ACT News - Spring 1995