The below letter, authored by “father of String Theory” Dr. John Schwarz, urges President Barack Obama to uphold his promises to put science before politics, particularly as it regards public policy toward medical marijuana. We invite scientists and researchers to join him in urging the President to place science before politics and allow medical marijuana research and access.

Dear President Obama,

On October 16th 2012, the Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit heard arguments in Americans for Safe Access vs. the Drug Enforcement Administration, a lawsuit that patient advocates were compelled to bring following your administration’s declaration that, despite scientific findings, marijuana should remain a Schedule I substance.

Two months after taking office, you endorsed the principle of basing government policy on sound science. “Rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values,” you explained.

To better guide your federal policy, you issued a memorandum in 2010 to all executive departments and agencies that began, “Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.”

You said researchers should be able to work “free from manipulation or coercion,” while policymakers “listen to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient.”  Scientists applauded loudly when you said your intention was to ensure that “scientific data are never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda – and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.”

However, you are ignoring scientists’ voices on medical marijuana policy, severely restricting their ability to conduct new research. In addition to straying from sound science, it’s hard to escape the fact that there is also a growing gap between the American public and the federal government on this topic. Based on legislative and popular will, seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana over the past 15 years. Public debate on the subject has been focused mainly on the question of how marijuana should be delivered to the patients in states allowing its use.  However, increased numbers of medical professionals are speaking out in support of the new laws and reclassification marijuana as the biochemical understanding of the plant’s medicinal properties continues to grow.

We, the undersigned scientists, want to know that your commitment to “free and open scientific inquiry” is not political rhetoric but a commitment that you will apply equally to all your agencies and will guide your next moves on medical marijuana research and policy. Please assure us that you will not spurn your citizens through the suppression of scientific findings and discovery to serve a misguided war on medical marijuana.

Sincerely,

Dr. John Schwarz

& fellow scientists and researchers, listed on the bottom of this originating page (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/182/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11842)