DrugScience.org Library: Research Links

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Research Guide

Use the links below to research any aspect of marijuana, medical cannabis, drug policy and the public policy process including:

Medical Cannabis and Scientific Research

Marijuana and Medicine, Assessing the Science Base.  This is the landmark 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine on medical cannabis.  Read on-line for free.

Marijuana as Medicine: The Science Beyond the Controversy.  This is a follow-up by Allison Mack and Janet Joy to the 1999 Institute of Medicine report on medical cannabis from the National Academies Press and was published n 2000.  Read on-line for free.

National Library of Medicine  This is the premier web site in the United States for information on health and medicine.

PubMed. This server from the National Library of Medicine provides citations and abstracts for biomedical articles.  Descriptions of almost all cannabis-related research are available through this source.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s Marijuana Uses.  Lester Grinspoon, MD, is the author of Marihuana: the Forbidden Medicine (along with James Bakalar).  This site contains essays and brief accounts about marijuana use submitted by the public.

Articles by Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar.  An associate professor of psychiatry (emeritus) at Harvard Medical School, Lester Grinspoon, MD, has often written about medical cannabis with his Harvard colleague James Bakalar.  Lester Grinspoon is a pioneer in recognizing the importance, value, and potential of medical cannabis use and his work over the last decades continues to have relevance to both patients, health care professionals, policy makers, and interested members of the public.

Patients Out of Time  This group sponsors the biannual National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics and maintains important contact with the medical and scientific community on the behalf of medical cannabis patients.  Patients Out of Time’s mission is the education of health care professionals and the public about the therapeutic use of cannabis.  They seek to provide a compassionate, science-based educational forum for the restoration of medical cannabis knowledge.  Patients Out of Time is a member of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)  The oldest and one of the most reliable sources for news and information about marijuana, medical marijuana use, and marijuana laws in the United States – NORML filed the original rescheduling petition in 1972 that resulted in the 1988 recommendation by Administrative Law Judge Francis Young that marijuana be made legally available as prescription medicine.  NORML works with activists, attorneys and legislators to address medical cannabis issues at the personal, local, state, and national level.  NORML is a member of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

California NORML  The California chapter of NORML is an excellent source of information about California’s Proposition 215, related state laws and policies about medical cannabis, and other news and information related to the legal use of medical cannabis under California state law.  California NORML is a member of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) This group provides legal training for lawyers and patients, medical information for doctors and patients, media support for court cases, activist training to organizers, and rapid response to law enforcement problems.  ASA works with local, state and national legislators on issues concerning medical marijuana patients. ASA is a member of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC)  The Alliance is dedicated to bringing patients, caregivers and volunteers the facts they need to make informed decisions about whether Cannabis is the right medicine for them, the laws surrounding Medicinal Marijuana in your area, political activism and even handy recipes. AAMC is a member of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative (OCBC) This is a not-for-profit cooperative supporting patients who benefit from medical cannabis.   At this website OCBC explain how we help our friends, and how you can help us help us all.  OCBC is a member of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis.

Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young’s Opinion and Recommended Ruling (1988)  Opinion and Recommended Ruling, Findings of Fact, Conclusions Of Law And Decision Of Administrative Law Judge.  Francis L. Young, Administrative Law Judge.  September 6, 1988.   After hearing testimony and arguments concerning NORML’s original rescheduling petition, Judge Young recommends that marijuana be placed in schedule II because it has an accepted medical use in the United States.

The Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT)   The Alliance was the first non-profit organization dedicated to reforming the laws which prohibit medical access to marijuana.   ACT was founded in 1981 by Robert Randall and Alice O’Leary and their website continues to provide valuable information about the medical uses of marijuana.

Gettman on the Web

Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrests in the United States, by Jon Gettman, PhD is a comprehensive study reporting and analyzing national arrest data between 1995 and 2002 and other important trends in US marijuana policy, published by NORML.

NORML Report on U.S. Domestic Marijuana Production – The 1998 Marijuana Crop Report,  by Jon Gettman and Paul Armentano. An Evaluation of Marijuana Production, Value, and Eradication Efforts in the United States, published by NORML.

Marijuana Cases in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Distinguishing Personal Possession from Intent to Distribute, by Jon Gettman.  This is a collection of excerpts from Virginia Court of Appeals opinions on the evidentiary requirements to sustain a conviction for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. This handout was originally prepared for a conference of the Virginia College of Criminal Defense Attorneys in Fredericksburg, Virginia on October 25, 2002 and is located on the website of Virginia NORML.

Estimation of the Budgetary Costs of Marijuana Possession Arrests in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  (113 KB PDF) By Jon Gettman and Stephen Fuller.  This report contains is a review of the penalty structure, relative severity of all crimes in Virginia, and an estimate of the costs of marijuana possession arrests.  This report is located on the website of Virginia NORML.

An Argument Against Increasing the Maximum Penalty for Marijuana Possession in Virginia.  (662 KB PDF) By Jon Gettman.  This report was prepared in response to a legislative proposal in the Virginia General Assembly.  The report reviews marijuana use, marijuana arrests, jail overcrowding and costs by county, and other data as part of an overall argument why House Bill 737, a proposal to increase the maximum penalty for marijuana possession, should be rejected.  Due to strong public opposition HB 737 was defeated in committee during the last session of the General Assembly.

The Cannabis Column.  By Jon Gettman.  This is a monthly column taking fresh look at the effort to legalize marijuana, with commentary, criticism, and analysis of news and reform proposals, published by High Times Online.   

Dependence, Addiction, and Abuse Potential

Dispelling the Myths About Addiction: Strategies to Increase Understanding and Strengthen Research.  This National Academies Press title is available to read free on-line and provides excellent background on how the scientific community views addiction and dependency.  Read free online.

Pathways of Addiction: Opportunities in Drug Abuse Research.  This National Academies Press title contains a superb discussion distinguishing drug use, abuse, and dependency.   Read free online.

The Biological Components or Substance Abuse and Addiction.  This report was prepared for Congress in 1993 by their Office of Technology Assessment and provides a good introduction to the biological basis for drug dependency.

Technologies for Understanding and Preventing Substance Abuse and Addiction.  This report was prepared for Congress in 1994 and provides a solid introduction to all of the issues involved in drug policy and the various policy options available for policy makers, including both prohibition and public health models.

Criminal Justice and Public Health Data

Uniform Crime Reports County Data.   This University of Virginia web server provides access to county level data on marijuana and other arrests.

Bureau of Justice Statistics.   Information and data about the criminal justice system at the local, state, and federal level.

Bureau of Justice Statistics: Expenditure and Employment Statistics.  This link provides access to data on the costs of law enforcement, the court system, and the correctional system.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive.   This site provides visitors with the capability to conduct on-line analysis of data from important national surveys, such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.   Some training in statistical analysis will be helpful in utilizing this service.

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Scientific Research.  This is the primary source for social science and political datasets.  For example the dataset used by the University of Virginia server for arrest data can be obtained from this source.  Formal training in statistical analysis and the use of related software packages is required to utilize the datasets available from this source.

U.S. Drug Policy

The Trebach Report.  This is the website of Arnold Trebach, founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, author of The Heroin Solution and The Great Drug War, and a pioneer in contemporary efforts to reform drug policy in the US and throughout the world.  Trebach remains an expansive critic of the War on Drugs and devotes special attention to issues involving the abuse of patients receiving drug treatment services and the pursuit of the War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror, the subject of his new book Fatal Distraction.

Drug Policy Alliance. DPA is the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs. We envision new drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights and a just society in which the fears, prejudices and punitive prohibitions of today are no more.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  This federal agency coordinates federal drug policy and programs; it is the primary source for government analysis of drug policy issues and developments.

FirstGov.   This portal provides access to every federal agency and important government programs.

Annual National Drug Control Strategy Report.  This annual report analyzes progress in achieving the policy objectives of the Administration and the Congress, and generally makes a case for how the government is winning the war on drugs.

National Drug Intelligence Center.  The Bush Administration has eliminated funding for this agency, however it is currently “the nation’s principal center for strategic domestic counterdrug intelligence.”  This is an excellent source for government analysis of trends in key policy indicators such as availability and demand.

Federal Data Sources.   This portal from ONDCP provides access to the original source data used to evaluate federal drug policy, including survey data on drug use, emergency room visits, drug treatment admissions, and other key indicators of policy performance.

Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us.  This book from the National Research Council provides important background information on the data used to evaluate drug policy as well as valuable critiques of its use in drug policy analysis.   This is an essential guide to the use of federal data sources by drug policy analysts and to critical evaluation of claims of drug policy success.  The National Academies Press (NAP) provides online access to this and other publications.  Read free online.

College on the Problems of Drug Dependence.  See what the nation’s experts on drugs, pharmacology, and addiction think of national drug policy (pdf).  Marijuana legalization will require the support of these professionals.  Advocates of marijuana legalization need to understand how to appeal to the interests and concerns of professionals in this field.

RAND Drug Policy Research Center.   This is one of the nation’s most prominent and respected drug policy think-tanks.  Drug policy reformers need to persuade this academic community of the merits of their proposals in order for the public to take them seriously.  As with the example above, advocates of marijuana legalization need to understand how to effectively communicate this field of professionals.  RAND affiliated analysts are frequently consulted by Congress on drug policy issues.

Drug Control Policies in the United States: Historical Perspectives. (PDF) A short history of drug policy in the United States contained in the above report.

TRAC-DEA.   This Syracuse University program is a source for comprehensive independent, and nonpartisan information about the Drug Enforcement Agency.

UNESCO: Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Discussion Paper #44:  The Relationship between Research and Drug Policy in the United States by Laurent Laniel.  An interesting discussion of US drug policy by an international observer.

Analysis of Marijuana Policy    This 1982 report by the National Academy of Sciences recommends that prohibition be abandoned and replaced with a regulatory system.  It is a classic example of drug policy analysis that is still relevant today.  Read free online.

American Journal of Public Health  This journal has published many important articles on marijuana use and its relationship to the use of other illegal drugs.  This journal represents another audience that reform advocates must persuade in order to be successful.

Legal and Legislative Aspects of Drug Policy

Controlled Substances Act.   These are the laws that govern the production and distribution of medical cannabis.   Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, restricted for research use only.  These laws provide a basis for changing that classification, a process known as rescheduling.

The Legal Information Institute of the Cornell University Law School.  This portal provides access to the statutes and court decisions that make up US law.

Robinson v. California.   This is probably the most important legal decision about drug policy in United States law.  In Robinson v. California (1962) the Supreme Court ruled that it was cruel and unusual punishment to make drug addiction a crime in the United States.  Listen to the Oral Arguments in this and other historic Supreme Court cases and read the opinions of the Court.

Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.   These are the laws that govern the marketing and sale of drugs in the United States.   Under existing law, if rescheduled by the DEA medical cannabis will governed by these federal statutes requiring extensive clinical trials before a drug can be approved for marketing as a safe and effective treatment for any medical condition.

National Drug Control Policy.   These laws describe the requirements for the Office of National Drug Control Strategy and its annual report.

The United States House of Representatives.   Learn how to contact your Congressional Representative and how this house of the legislature functions.

The United States Senate.   Learn how to contact your U.S. Senator and how the Senate functions.

THOMAS.  Use this service of the Library of Congress to monitor marijuana-related legislation in the U.S. Congress.

Federal Contract and Funding Announcements.  Follow the money!  Apply for Federal Funding!  Here is where you can learn more about the flow of federal funds to independent contractors and non-governmental organizations.

State and Local Government on the Net.   This portal provides access to every state government and state legislative website.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) .  This is an excellent source of information on the issues before state legislatures.   This source provides an opportunity to learn more about what cannabis reform legislation must compete with at the state level, as well as the overall legislative and policy environment in any specific state.

State Budget and Tax Issues.   This section of the NCLS website provides background on the financial pressures faced by state governments, pressures that may be alleviated in many areas by the decriminalization of marijuana and/or other reforms.

International Drug Policy

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.   Here is the source for information on the global war on drugs.

United Nations World Drug Report.   This annual report estimates drug production and consumption around the world as well as reports on enforcement trends.

United Nations: Drug Control Conventions.   These are the international treaties that attempt to enforce a global prohibition on opium, coca, cannabis, and other drugs.

Non-Profit Organizations

Guidestar.   > This is a national database on nonprofit organizations and their financial reports.  Learn how pro- and anti- reform groups spend their money.

Quality990  This website explains how nonprofits can improve their federal financial reports as well as background information for members of the public researching the financial reports of non-profits organizations.

National Center for Charitable Statistics  This organization provides background on the standards and practices of financial reporting for charities and other non-profit organizations.  Learn here how pro- and anti-reform groups should be reporting on their finances and agendas.

FirstGov for Non-Profits   This is a federal government web site providing access to resources for non-profits, including summaries of federal reporting requirements.

Tax Information for Charities and other Non-Profits   This Internal Revenue Service website explains the obligations of non-profit organizations to disclose their financial reports to both the government and the public.

FAQs About Exempt Organization Disclosure Requirements  More information on financial disclosure requirements for non-profit advocacy groups.

The Foundation Center  Find out where to get funding for your non-profit community service or advocacy organization.  The Foundation Directory, published by the Foundation Center, is available in many public libraries.