Four Americans are receiving marijuana from the federal government, the result of a 1976 court settlement, according to the Associated Press. In the past, as many as 14 people were part of the program.
The 1976 case involved a man with glaucoma. A federal judge ruled the Food and Drug Administration had to provide him with marijuana because no other drug could effectively treat his disease. Other patients, many of them with AIDS, successfully petitioned to receive medical marijuana. In 1992, the government stopped accepting new patients.
Steven Gust of the National Institute on Drug Abuse told the AP that there is no scientific value to the program, but the government is continuing to supply marijuana to the four remaining patients for compassionate reasons.
The marijuana is grown at the University of Mississippi, and then sent to a lab in North Carolina, where it is rolled into cigarettes.
One of the recipients, Elvy Musikka, is a 72-year-old Oregon woman who is blind in one eye. She uses marijuana to treat her glaucoma. Irv Rosenfeld, who lives in Florida, has been receiving marijuana from the government since 1982 to treat pain from bone tumors.