4 Americans get pot from US government

By NIGEL DUARA - Associated Press
Sep. 30, 2011

It's only fine if they do it.EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Sometime after midnight on a moonlit rural Oregon highway, a state trooper checking a car he had just pulled over found less than an ounce of pot on one passenger: A chatty 72-year-old woman blind in one eye.

She insisted the weed was legal and was approved by the U.S. government.

The trooper and his supervisor were doubtful. But after a series of calls to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency and her physician, the troopers handed her back the card and her pot.

For the past three decades, Uncle Sam has been providing a handful of patients with some of the highest grade marijuana around. The program grew out of a 1976 court settlement that created the country's first legal pot smoker.

Advocates for legalizing marijuana or treating it as a medicine say the program is a glaring contradiction in the nation's 40-year war on drugs maintaining the federal ban on pot while at the same time supplying it.

Government officials say there is no contradiction. The program is no longer accepting new patients, and public health authorities have concluded that there was no scientific value to it, Steven Gust of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse told The Associated Press.

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