Jacob Sullum writes about a big one:

The Associated Press reports that University of Massachusetts horiticulturist Lyle Craker is giving up his nine-year fight to break the federal government's monopoly on the production of marijuana for research purposes. This monopoly is unusual, since other Schedule I drugs can be legally produced for research by labs with licenses from the Drug Enforcement Administration. But the DEA has refused to allow any competition in marijuana cultivation, which is done exclusively at a University of Mississippi farm (pictured on the right) under contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Craker and other scientists say the government's pot is not potent or varied enough for research on marijuana's medical applications, which neither the DEA nor NIDA, given their institutional missions, have much interest in promoting. In 2007 DEA Adminstrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner recommended that the agency let Craker and other qualified applicants grow marijuana. The DEA rejected her recommendation and denied Craker's application at the very end of the Bush administration.

It's unconscionable that the Obama Administration, like its predecessor, is blocking a scientist from growing strains of marijuana that could lead to better treatments for sick people. Would there even be a political cost to doing so? It makes no sense.

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