The federal government has consistently overreached in their efforts to block medical marijuana research.  To even begin to study a research group will require a license from the DEA, which is virtually impossible; and then, of course, the researcher needs a legal marijuana source.  The DEA also consistently refuses to grant even temporary licenses to allow legal marijuana imports for medical research.  At the same time, those same gatekeepers keep repeating the mantra that there is, today, insufficient research and study to meet the FDA’s standards for drug approval.  This is, in itself, kind of a giggle moment when you consider that more Americans die every year from FDA-approved painkillers and voodoo drugs than all the so-called street drugs combined.

Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Opana wipe out about 50 people a day in the U.S.  In fact, the federal government had to launch a special action plan to adapt to the havoc caused by FDA-approved prescription drugs.  They called it Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis.  Enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every single American adult every four hours for an entire month.

The part of the story that you don’t hear is that most of the time clinical studies, aftermarket monitoring, and adverse-event tracking consistently show that dozens of the FDA-approved drugs, allowed onto the market, are there because of phonied up clinical numbers and studies delivered by high-price, science research biostitutes willing to put their name on any kind of clinical results, no matter how phony, for the right price. Our politicians know, and the FDA and DOJ know, about the pervasive everyday fraud by our behemoth drug industry.

But legalizing medical marijuana has become such an off-limits discussion for the federales that there is an endless effort by the government to prohibit states from sustaining their own medical marijuana programs.  Where those programs have been launched, the federal government is always on the state line shutting down state-sanctioned medical supply businesses, arresting medical supply owners for failing to cross a “T” or dot an “I”, while ignoring the fact that the Mercks and the Pfizers and the Glaxos are drugging up America into oblivion with drugs they don’t need, drugs that have been nothing short of pure snake oil – legal drugs that leave Americans addicted, dead, or crippled by the tens of thousands so those campaign war chest sources can run up profits of $10 to $20 billion every year for the cheap, gutless regulators and politicians who allow it to go on.

In 1972, the U.S. Congress placed marijuana in a Schedule (I) of the controlled substances act and they proclaimed that it had zero accepted medical uses.  Since then, 17 states and D.C. have legalized the medical use of marijuana because in those states, legislators concluded that, even with the thin amount of controlled research, marijuana had the ability to safely and effectively treat some of the horrendous, transient, and chronic suffering of patients with cancer, AIDS, MS, epilepsy, glaucoma, and a host of other afflictions.

And when other states do move ahead with their effort to join the medical marijuana fraternity, the same arguments surface from the Federales, the liquor industry, and yes, some of the designer drug manufacturers.

Those arguments are that medical marijuana is too dangerous, it lacks FDA approval.  They argue:  legal drugs by the big pharmaceutical companies make medical marijuana unnecessary.  It is addictive, it is a gateway drug that leads to harder drugs.  It impairs driving ability.  It injures the lungs, the brain, and the immune system.  It impairs fertility.  It will create a generation of useless, unproductive stoners; a generation of Cheech and Chong-like characters. And medical marijuana is merely a scam front for recreational use.  It is simply a pathway for the same kind of thuggish operators who want to bring you gambling casinos, legalized prostitution.  Where there is medical marijuana, there is the mob.

As of this year, there are 12 additional states with pending legislation that would legalize medical marijuana.  The arguments surfacing by proponents usually center around the fact that tobacco is legal, even while it massacres 440,000 people each year.  They argue that alcohol is legal and 110,000 people die from that poison every year.  Adverse reactions to prescription drugs kill about 40,000 people every year.  And the number of similar deaths caused by similar systemic illness deaths from medical marijuana is zero.

So today we are going to spend a little time talking about whether there need to be more studies; whether the expansion of medical marijuana clinics will contribute to unnecessary, expanded use.  Have the voters who passed state medical marijuana initiatives been duped by slick talkers with something to gain – or is it time that we give Americans suffering with the worst of the worst kinds of afflictions every possible chance to minimize their suffering?  Is granting them every possible break simply a decent, wise, tolerant showing of compassion?  Let’s talk about it.

Richard Eskow is host and managing editor of The Zero Hour, a weekly radio program produced by We Act Radio. He was the senior writer and editor for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Richard has written for a number of print and online publications, was a founding contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a longtime activist. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future.