TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Buried deep in some bureaucratic catacomb, some pencil pusher has a smile on his face today. Yesterday, the FDA rejected claims of marijuana's medicinal usefulness, courageously contradicting a major study by the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, the highest scientific body in the nation. You show those pointy-heads, FDA! The ruling was even bolder considering that the FDA actively discourages research into marijuana's biochemical effects, routinely rejecting proposals by researchers to conduct gold-standard studies on the subject. As Dr. Craker, a University of Massachusetts professor who applied for permission to grow and study pot but was repeatedly rejected, said, "the reason there's no good evidence is that they don't want an honest trial."
So why, exactly, amidst this tawdry story of politics putting its foot on science's throat, do I think some bureaucrat somewhere is having a good chuckle? Well, the ruling came out on April 20th, also known as 4/20, the international day of pot smoking. Whether or not my imagined bureaucrat was smiling, quite a few folks were laughing uproariously at herb-related happenings.