Patents and Pot: Feds’ patents say medical marijuana is good, drug war disagrees

by Stephan Kinsella on December 13, 2012

The WSJ Blog, in On Intellectual Property and Pot, reveals the federal government’s schizophrenic approach to marijuana. On the one hand, in its zeal to prevent the nose-under-the-camel’s-tent of medical marijuana, it has to deny the medical benefits of marijuana  (okay, well, granted, the medical benefit claims of inhaling smoke bearing a psychoactive drug into one’s lungs may seem a bit … counterintuitive); on the other, “the U.S. government’s own patents and research claim otherwise. … One 2009 patent application, for instance, extols the pain-relieving and “healing properties” of marijuana. The government’s own 2003 patent discusses the usefulness of “cannabinoids” in treating “ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases” as well as “Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. In July, the National Institutes of Health licensed the rights of the latter patent to the pharmaceutical company KannaLife….”

As a legal brief notes, “How can the government credibly deny the benefits of medical cannabis when the government itself is funding cutting-edge research proving the medical benefits of cannabis and seeking patents based on such research?”

Well, it’s not surprising that the state is schizo on something related to patents. It’s not the first time:


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