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DEA decrees controversial stance on medical marijuana

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – the DEA declares a controversial stance on marijuana that has folks on both sides up in arms.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 17 states. Here in Colorado, current law removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana.

Patients must possess written documentation from their physician saying that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and advising that they, “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.”

But if the DEA had it their way, the drug would go up in smoke.

More than 127,000 Coloradans use medical marijuana for one reason or another but they all agree– the drug soothes them.

“Numerous writings on the subject where the American Medical Association does not recognize any legitimate medical use for marijuana,” says resident agent for the DEA in Grand Junction Jim Schrant.

Schrant says even if patients say it works best for them, much of that is unreliable.

“If a substance is found to be dangerous to the public, that’s our first priority rather than anecdotal evidence from a handful of individuals,” says Schrant.

But Doctor Christopher Lepisto of Grand Junction Naturopath says there is plenty of evidence to suggest the medical benefits of marijuana.

“Cannabis really helps with pain, nausea, insomnia and appetite with people with end stage cancer,” says Lepisto.

Lepisto says the DEA’s new stance has more to do with politics, especially when it comes to those who would provide substances alternative to cannabis.

“Such as drug companies and unfortunately the entire cancer industry,” says Lepisto.

Schrant denies those claims. he says there are two agencies that oversee drug laws. One is through the law enforcement side while the other is the regulatory side which deals with prescription drugs.

He says the DEA and the FDA are always working together.

“We evaluate substances to determine two things. If they have any medical benefits and how we can regulate those substances,” says Schrant.

Lepisto says though there isn’t a physical addiction to marijuana, there may be other negative side effects.

“It’s a mind altering, numbing substance that will disengage you from your day to day processes. That’s part of the point. But it does not have the physical properties of addiction,” explains Lepisto.

Morphine and heroin are both administered to patients based on their pain level but cannabis is not.

<a href="http://www.nbc11news.com/localnews/headlines/DEA_decrees_contraversial_stance_on_medical_marijuana_125535423.html?storySection=commentstag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.nbc11news.com/localnews/headlines/DEA_decrees_contraversial_stance_on_medical_marijuana_125535423.html?storySection=commentsThu, 14 Jul 2011 15:47:56 GMT 00:00″>DEA decrees controversial stance on medical marijuana

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