The NIH Jobs Plan

September 12, 2011

The NIH budget, $30Billion in round numbers, runs something on the order of $100 per taxpayer.

One five year R01 is about $2M, including overhead. This provides about 1.5-2 jobs on the direct science front. Also small fractions of the effort of a number of administrative and support staff (from housecleaning to security to animal care staff….). I don’t know how this compares with other stimulus proposals. But I do know that if I land a grant, I need to create a job and fill it. Or at the very least I avoid laying someone off. Yes, during this economic downturn the award of NIH grants for which I am the PI has resulted in the employment of the previously unemployed.

If one wanted to fund salary lines directly through fellowships, $58Million would buy about 1,000 junior scientists. Grad students or nondegreeseeking techs, if that was your desire.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was a makework government program which happened to leave a durable legacy. I was just enjoying some CCC built trails and park facilities this past summer, as it happens.

The impact of scientific advance is likely to leave an even more durable public legacy. That however is bonus. The real focus should be on employing people.

Increasing the NIH budget can help with that.

for any new to this blog, see Disclaimer. I am an interested party. But then so are the denizen’s of Wall Street, GM line workers, renewable energy folks and anyone else advocating for their business to enjoy federal stimulus.

Following up* on the case of Eric Srack who was prosecuted for selling a synthetic cannabis product containing the cannabimimetic compound JWH-081. The Salina Journal reports:

Jurors found Eric W. Srack guilty Tuesday morning of three felony counts of sale, delivery or distribution of JWH-081, an analog of an illegal substance.

As you will recall, this particular compound was not one of the ones listed (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) ) on the recent scheduling action by the DEA.

You will also recall that this whole blossoming retail market in cannabimimetic products showed quite clearly that the Federal Analog Law, despite having an “OR” between its two key provisions (acts like, looks like) was in fact being interpreted as having an “AND” between these two provisions in case law. The above mentioned compounds were clearly endocannabinoid CB1 receptor agonists, therefore they “act like” the Schedule I drug Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. They did not however look structurally like THC. So it appeared to be the case in summer-fall 2010 that DEA’s “watching and evaluating” language was the same as saying “Yup, these are not currently illegal folks, go nuts!”.

Putting at least one of the JWH-xxx compounds on the Schedule, however, had the potential to support the “AND” interpretation of the Federal Analog Act language. All that matters going forward from here is the case law.

This is the first successful conviction that I’ve heard of. If it holds up, it is a highly significant turning point for the legal status of these cannabimimetic, synthetic marijuana products.

*hmm, actually that may be one of the posts I’ve failed to recover from Sb.