The United States government holds a patent on marijuana medicine and has for nearly a decade. In fact, this story has repeatedly made the rounds in various news outlets, always with the same degree of public outcry, but never any real backlash capable of generating action. Instead, the War on Drugs has slogged messily on for the last 9 years – largely targeting marijuana users and distributors – based on the same government’s claim that cannabis has no medical value. If that’s not a hypocrisy worthy of investigation, then it’s clear that the public isn’t fully aware of the implications this raises, necessitating a call for more intense disclosure.
US Patent 6630507 was issued to “The United States of America as Represented by the Department of Health and Human Services” in 2001. In lay terms the patent extended to the DHHS is for a marijuana-based medicine, which is a troubling concept considering the government’s current stance on marijuana. However, the contradiction between today’s drug policies and the medical usefulness of cannabis are found in the first two sentences of the abstract that describes the patent claim:
“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” (1)
Contradiction aside, the patent gives the US government an exclusive right to manufacture this particular type of cannibinoid-based medicine until 2021. Therefore, even if there wasn’t an active drug war against the plant, obtaining the medicine or something similar would be virtually impossible.
US Patent 6630507 is especially hypocritical considering that the recent medical marijuana movement was largely based around the same types of medical benefits clearly noted by the US DHHS. In fact, it was precisely these benefits that led 16 States to pass medical marijuana legislation after significant public support.
But despite the US patent on marijuana, the federal government has launched an offensive against law abiding medical marijuana users and providers, sending technically and morally innocent people to federal prison in the process, while destroying a growing and powerful industry with boots-on-the-ground force.
The message is confusing but appears to be one of control; some factions of the government believe that marijuana has clear and applicable medical uses, has actually patented this usage potential yet not produced any evidence that it’s being put to use for the good of the public health, and deals heavy-handedly with people who are involved in the medicinal marijuana industry.
What Can be Done?
The obvious response is to vote, but there’s more to it than that alone. You must also communicate with your congress-people and local representatives. So few people do this and most don’t realize that it does make a difference, and their offices will generally respond to you. Pressure them to take action on issues like this.
Additionally, if you’ve been the target of confusing marijuana laws, don’t give in – fight for your rights. Call the number at the top of your screen now for an immediate consultation if you’ve been charged with a marijuana crime. With decades of experience in the field and practice on both sides of the law, we have the insider knowledge you need to maintain your reputation and dignity. Call us now.
(1) Patent References Cannabis as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants Patent 6630507 as Reported on PatentStorm, http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6630507/fulltext.html Accessed 09/13/2012