Debra J. Saunders

Aaron Houston, the Marijuana Policy Project's director of government relations, said U. Mass. agronomy professor Lyle E. Craker has until Friday to file a motion to reconsider the DEA's last-minute gambit, which Craker plans to do. "We want (White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel and the White House to do the same thing that the White House did for the other actions" -- that is, direct federal agencies to hold off on rule-making on medical marijuana until the Obama folks take a look at it.

Judge Bittner was highly skeptical of some of the claims made by marijuana advocates who complained about the quality of medical marijuana supplied by the University of Mississippi. But Bittner also found that the National Institute of Drug Abuse has failed to make marijuana "available to all researchers who have a legitimate need for it in their research."

You could understand the institute's opposition to these projects if marijuana were a rare and lethal drug. But it is impossible to take a lethal dose, and marijuana is so prevalent that a 2005 National Drug Threat Assessment reported that, in some areas, marijuana seems "easier for youths to obtain than alcohol or cigarettes."

To the extent that federal officials have been slow to approve medical marijuana research, you have to believe that their biggest fear was that the research would be successful. That's right, it might help people in pain.

Obama has made much of his commitment to "restore science to its rightful place." Here's his chance.

Debra J. Saunders

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