IND Federal Compassion Program, 1978
In 1975, a Washington, DC, resident was arrested for growing marijuana to treat his glaucoma.
He won his case by using the medical necessity defense,31 forcing the government to find a way
to provide him with his medicine. In 1978, FDA created the Investigational New Drug (IND)
Compassionate Access Program,32 allowing patients whose serious medical conditions could be
relieved only by marijuana to apply for and receive marijuana from the federal government. Over
the next 14 years, other patients, less than 100 in total, were admitted to the program for
conditions including chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (emesis), glaucoma, spasticity,
and weight loss. Then, in 1992, in response to a large number of applications from AIDS patients
who sought to use medical cannabis to increase appetite and reverse wasting disease, the George
H.W. Bush Administration closed the program to all new applicants. Several previously approved
patients remain in the program today and continue to receive their monthly supply of
government-grown medical marijuana.