February 15, 2017: 3:36 PM CT
(Image credit: Alex Milan Tracy/Demotix/Corbis)
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) declared partial victory on Monday, Feb. 13, reporting the United States Drug Enforcement Administration had removed “factually inaccurate” information about marijuana from its website after months of legal pressure from the marijuana advocacy group.
A DEA publication titled “ The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse ” is no longer available on the agency’s live website. ASA says the 44-page publication was taken offline in response to a legal petition the group filed with the Justice Department on Dec. 5, 2016.
ASA’s legal petition claims the DEA’s website contained at least 25 false statements about cannabis and violated the Information Quality Act prohibiting administrative agencies from disseminating false information to the public.
“The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse” publication contained 23 of the 25 factual inaccuracies listed in ASA’s petition, including assertions that marijuana is a gateway drug, that it causes irreversible cognitive decline in adults and that it contributes to psychosis and lung cancer.
Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA, described the publication’s takedown in a news release as “a big first step” and “a victory for medical cannabis patients.”
“We are pleased that in the face of our request the DEA withdrew some of the damaging misinformation from its website,” Vickie Feeman of the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, said in the release. “However, the DEA continues to disseminate many damaging facts about the health risks of medical cannabis and patients across the country face ongoing harm as a result of these alternative facts.”
DEA spokesperson Russ Baer tells Extract the digital publication was temporarily taken offline for revisionary purposes and says the move was not a direct response to ASA’s legal petition.
Despite the DEA’s temporary takedown, ASA says the agency has not officially responded to its legal petition and is now more than one week past a deadline requiring it to do so.
“We are hopeful the DEA will also remove the remaining statements rather than continue to mislead the public in the face of the scientifically proven benefits of medical cannabis,” Feeman said.
Baer says the DEA has no plans to alter its position on marijuana.
“Despite recent ballot initiatives, we maintain that marijuana is a dangerous substance and is rightfully listed as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act,” he said in a phone call.
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Image by © Alex Milan Tracy/Demotix/Corbis
Cannabis legalization advocates generally see Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence as bad news for the marijuana reform movement. The former Indiana governor opposed numerous marijuana reform initiatives in his home state, where possession of any amount of cannabis still carries the possibility of $1,000 in fines and up to 180 days in jail. Although vice-presidential powers are limited, Pence’s anti-marijuana sentiments could influence the Trump administration’s approach to drug policy. [Photo credit: John Moore/Getty Images]
Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus stated publicly in 2014 that he was “not a big fan” of Colorado’s recreational marijuana law, as reported by The Denver Post. [Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]
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Trump’s Energy Secretary nominee, former Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, says he doesn’t personally support marijuana legalization, but he has voiced strong support for states’ rights to pass their own marijuana laws. Speaking on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” in 2014, Perry said: “I’m a big believer in the 10th Amendment. I don’t agree with those decisions that were made by that, by the state of Colorado or Washington, but I will defend it to my death, if you will, to allow them to make those decisions.” [Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]
Trump’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), has supported a number of marijuana reform amendments in Congress, including measures aimed at extending medical cannabis access to military veterans and preventing the federal government from using federal funds to interfere with the implementation of state marijuana laws. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) gave Mulvaney a “B” on its 2016 Congressional Scorecard. [Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]
Gallery source links:
Mike Pence – Leafly , On The Issues , NORML ; Reince Priebus – The Denver Post ; Rex Tillerson – CNN , CNN ; John Kelly – CBS News , Drug Policy Alliance , Military Times ; Mike Pompeo – NPR , Vote Smart ; Nikki Haley – CNN , Tenth Amendment Center ; Steven Mnuchin – NBC News , Senate Committee on Finance ; Jeff Sessions – USA Today , Politico ; Ryan Zinke – Americans for Safe Access , Vote Smart ; Sonny Perdue – On The Issues ; Hemp Business Journal ; David Shulkin – Department of Veterans Affairs/Scribd ; Tom Price – NORML ; Scott Pruitt – Associated Press ; Rick Perry – “ The Hugh Hewitt Show ”; Mick Mulvaney – NORML