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medicinal marijuana suit

Conant v. McCaffrey:

Federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of physicians who recommend
and seriously ill patients who need medical marijuana

Declaration of Arnold Leff, M.D.

I, Dr. Arnold S. Leff, declare as follows:

  1. I am a physician licensed to practice in the State of California and have been practicing medicine for 11 years in Santa Cruz, California.
  2. I received a B.S. in zoology from the University of Cincinnati in 1963. I received an M.D. from the University of Cincinnati Medical School in 1967. I completed an Internship in internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Hospitals in 1968. In 1969, I completed an internal medicine Fellowship in clinical pharmacology, also at the Medical Center Hospitals.
  3. From 1971-72 I was Deputy Associate Director for the White House Drug Abuse Office under President Richard Nixon. In that position, I worked on a number of different areas of drug policy including: developing drug abuse programs for the Department of Defense and State Department; establishing drug treatment programs in foreign countries; implementing drug testing and treatment programs for U.S. military troops; and consulting with local law enforcement officials on implementing drug treatment programs. From 1972-75 I was a consultant to the White House Drug Abuse Office on these and other issues. During the late 1970s, I advised President Jimmy Carter's Administration on national drug policy.
  4. I have had experience in drug control policy and public health in other positions as well, including as Director of Health Services for Contra Costa County, California from 1979-83.
  5. Throughout those years, I also held teaching positions on medical school faculties. I was an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine from 1971-79, and an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California from 1979-84.
  6. I am currently a family practitioner with an emphasis on caring for geriatric and AIDS patients. My practice includes approximately 4,000 patients overall. I have been an AIDS specialist since 1985, and currently treat approximately 110 patients for AIDS and AIDS-related conditions.
  7. For many of my AIDS patients, I prescribe Marinol, a synthetic version of a primary active ingredient of marijuana, to combat severe nausea and to stimulate appetite. In some cases, however, Marinol is inappropriate because patients cannot tolerate or effectively absorb it. A significant number of my patients find that Marinol is too strong and makes them dysphoric ("high"). Many of these patients find that by smoking medical marijuana they are able to limit the dose, thereby avoiding an unwelcome dysphoric feeling.
  8. I currently treat at least 20 patients for whom I believe marijuana is medically appropriate in responding to treatment-induced nausea or for appetite stimulation. In my medical judgment, in some cases medical marijuana may be the only effective medicine.
  9. I am aware of threats by federal government officials against physicians who provide their patients with information regarding the potential risks or benefits of the medical use of marijuana. Due to fear caused by these threats, I feel compelled and coerced to withhold information, recommendations, and advice to patients regarding use of medical marijuana. I have postponed discussions about the use of medical marijuana and approach such discussions with trepidation. I am fearful and reluctant to engage in even limited communications regarding medical marijuana, yet I feel a duty to provide my patients with complete medical advice.
  10. Despite my extensive experience in drug policy and medicine, I am at a loss to justify the federal government's policy of denying sick and terminal patients a medicine that can be helpful.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States and the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

Executed at Santa Cruz, California, this 13th day of February, 1997.

Arnold S. Leff, M.D.

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