On Wednesday, the City of Berkeley stood up against a civil forfeiture action initiated by federal authorities against a medical marijuana dispensary. Federal prosecutors filed a claim in May to close a medical marijuana dispensary in Berkeley and are attempting to seize the property leased to retail medical marijuana store Berkeley Patients Group. The city filed a response to the forfeiture action saying the city needs that dispensary running.
In a statement, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said, “It is time for the federal government to wake up and stop these asset forfeiture actions … Berkeley Patients Group has complied with the rules and caused no problems in the city. The federal government should not use its scare resources to harass local law-abiding businesses.”
It seems so funny that DEA continues to categorize using marijuana as illegal, while the U.S. government itself holds the patent to medical use of marijuana, U.S. Patent 6630507, unknown to most. Despite many studies showing that marijuana arrests are primarily used against minorities and against common sense, the feds continue the weed wars.
However, the Department of U.S. Health and Human Services has nothing to gain if people freely grow and smoke marijuana, which is not the purpose of gaining the patent. But it seems if the government wants to make money off it, traditional marijuana use needs to be illegal, and pills carrying cannabinoids need to be there. This situation is pre-empted if states allow growing and using medical marijuana.
The Abstract of the patent on medical use of marijuana held by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department observes, “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. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”
However, the U.S. Patent 6630507 owned by the federal government does not claim a patent on the way marijuana is taken – people have been smoking cannabis for thousands of years – but the patent is on the medicinal use of processed cannabinoids. People can get the same benefits by using natural cannabis in traditional manners – but that does not benefit the pharmaceutical industry, nor, apparently, those who create federal policies.
Currently, in U.K. for almost the same bottle of marijuana extract that in a U.S. medical marijuana shop would cost $20, GW Pharmaceuticals charges GBP 175 or about $260. That is the value of being able to enforce patents on medical marijuana use.
And U.S. states seem to be up against such people-loving strategy. Just grow and smoke?