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Media Advisory



Eric Friedman
(212) 382-6754
Christina Bruno
(212) 382-6656


New York City Bar Committee Calls for Dialogue on
Controlled Substances Act and Drug Prohibition

Committee on Drugs and the Law Releases Statement and Organizes April 29 Forum

The New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Drugs and the Law has released a statement titled “A Wiser Course: Ending Drug Prohibition, Fifteen Years Later,” referring to the Committee’s 1994 report concluding that the costs of drug prohibition were too high to justify it as a policy. In the new statement, the Committee writes that “we are no closer to a drug-free society, and the problems associated with the illegal drug trade are worse than ever,” and calls for a dialogue focusing on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. The statement is available on the home page of

The statement questions the logic of placing drug control in a medical paradigm controlled not by medical authorities but by the Department of Justice, and the specific placement of marijuana in Schedule I of the CSA, which is the most highly restrictive category and reserved for substances with a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety even under medical supervision. “Today, it is inexplicable that cocaine, fentanyl, methadone, and morphine are in Schedule II and thus available by prescription but marijuana is not,” the Committee states. Until this issue is resolved, the statement suggests, there will continue to be a “medical marijuana” controversy.

On April 29th, the Committee is presenting a forum titled “ Pleasure, Pain, Physicians and Police: The Law of Controlled Substances and the Practice of Medicine.” Experts in law, medicine and history will discuss the CSA and its relationship to science, medical practice and the Commerce Clause.

What: Pleasure, Pain, Physicians and Police: The Law of Controlled Substances and the Practice of Medicine

Who: Marcus Reidenberg , MD, FACP, Professor of Pharmacology, Medicine, and Public Health, Head, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medical College;
Joseph Spillane, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History, University of Florida; Buford Terrell, JD, LLM, Professor of Law (ret.), South Texas College of Law.

When: Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 6:30 p.m.

Where: New York City Bar, 42 West 44 th St., New York NY 10036

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association (, since its founding in 1870, has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.

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