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The Final Four: U.S. Citizens Get Their Marijuana Directly From the U.S. Government

The AP has an interesting article about a little-known government operation under which the federal government grows marijuana, tests it, rolls it into cigarettes and mails these marijuana cigarettes (in tins of 300) out to a very select group of citizens. How select? Four people in the entire country!

The program began in 1976, when a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration was required to provide a man named Robert Randall with marijuana. The court found that no other drug could effectively help Randall deal with his glaucoma, thereby allowing Randall to become "the nation's first legal pot smoker" since marijuana was outlawed in the 1930s.

Other citizens petitioned to join the program, which is run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and at one point its ranks had grown to include 14 people. The program stopped accepting new patients in 1992, however, and just four beneficiaries remain today. NIDA says that public health authorities concluded that there was "no scientific value" to the program, but that the government has continued to supply marijuana to the remaining patients "for compassionate reasons." 

The marijuana for the program is grown, harvested and stored at the University of Mississippi, and is part of a small crop of marijuana the school grows to conduct "all cannabis research in the U.S. " After it is harvested,

The marijuana is then sent from Mississippi to a tightly controlled North Carolina lab, where they are rolled into cigarettes. And every month, steel tins with white labels are sent to Florida and Iowa. Packed inside each is a half-pound of marijuana rolled into 300 perfectly-wrapped joints.

If you ever wanted to know what a Family Size package of professionally rolled and packaged marijuana joints would look like, it looks like this:

(image: AP)

One of the four remaining patients, Elvy Musikka, lives in Oregon, a state which also has a medical marijuana program. Musikka is also enrolled in the state's program, which means that she is "entitled to more legal pot than anyone in the nation."

Posted by Bruce Carton on September 30, 2011 at 02:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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