Select Americans Get Top-Grade Pot From Feds

14 given medical marijuana as part of 1976 court order
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 28, 2011 3:40 AM CDT
Elvy Musikka, 72, shows the canister holding joint expertly rolled by a US government lab.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
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(Newser) – When 72-year-old Elvy Musikka of Oregon wants more marijuana to treat her glaucoma, she tells a US government worker to roll another one, just like the other one. Musikka has been toking on federally supplied high-grade pot for the last 23 years. She's part of a decades-ago court order requiring the US government to supply certain people with the drug for medicinal purposes. The program once serviced 14 people; now there are four left. Advocates for legalizing pot point out that the practice underlines a ridiculous contradiction in the nation's war on all drugs while it continues to supply pot to people like Musikka.

The bizarre program began in 1976 when a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration had to provide a Washington resident with marijuana because no other drug could combat his glaucoma as effectively as pot. Others then petitioned for similar treatment. George HW Bush closed the program to new patients in 1992. From 2005 to this year, some 100 pounds of marijuana were distributed by your friendly federal pot pusher, AP discovered in the only complete records the feds claim are available. The four patients in the program estimate they've received 584 pounds over the years, with a street value of some $500,000. All of the pot comes from the University of Mississippi, where it's grown and stored. And all of the users have become ardent proponents of the push to legalize pot. (Read more medical marijuana stories.)

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