A document that put the DEA under fire for disseminating misinformation about marijuana’s health effects has disappeared from the agency’s website.
As of Monday, “The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse,” a nearly 45-page publication on the various ramifications of cannabis use, no longer was available on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website.
The document last year was at the center of a legal petition by Americans for Safe Access claiming the DEA’s publishing of “scientifically inaccurate information about the health effects of medical cannabis” directly influenced “the action — and inaction — of Congress.”
In December, the medical marijuana advocacy organization alleged that the DEA website’s inclusion of 25 false statements about marijuana violated the Data Quality Act, also known as the Information Quality Act, which is meant to ensure the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information that government agencies provide to the public.
Some of those statements — that cannabis plays a significant role in psychosis; marijuana smoking causes tumors of the head, neck and lung; and marijuana is a precursor to illicit drug use and heroin addiction — have been contradicted by the DEA’s own statements in its August 2016 Denial of Petition to Initiate Proceedings to Reschedule Marijuana, according to ASA.
Agencies have 60 days to respond to requests to correct information, ASA said in its statement.
On Monday, the group hailed the document’s absence as a victory.
“The DEA’s removal of these popular myths about cannabis from their website could mean the end of the Washington gridlock,” Steph Sherer, ASA executive director, said in a statement. “This is a victory for medical cannabis patients across the nation, who rely on cannabis to treat serious illnesses.”
DEA spokesman Russell Baer, citing pending litigation, told The Cannabist on Tuesday that he could not comment on the matter.
In its statement, ASA said “the fight is not over,” claiming that the DEA’s website continues to include false or misleading statements about marijuana.