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Oct 22

California’s Largest Physician Group Calls for Full Legalization

Despite the recent attempts by the ATF, IRS, and four California-based US Attorneys to put a damper on the state’s medical marijuana program, the California Medical Association formally endorsed a new policy calling for the full legalization of cannabis.

The CMA represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide and is the largest industry group for doctors in the state. Last Friday, at the association’s annual meeting in Anaheim, they made official their support for the full legalization of marijuana. The group cited racial inequalities in arrests, the collateral damage to families of those incarcerated on simple marijuana charges, and growing prison costs as signs that marijuana prohibition has “proven to be a failed public health policy.”

This stance seems to have been prompted by the precarious position California doctors find themselves in under the state’s current medical law. This position forces a physician to decide whether or not to recommend a substance to a patient that is still illegal at the federal level. While their stance on the medical benefits was lukewarm to say the least (the group compared cannabis to a “folk remedy”) the CMA sees legalization for all adults as the only way to truly discover the potential medical application of cannabis and cannabinoids.

“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” stated Dr. Donald Lyman, a physician from Sacramento who helped author the new policy, “It is an open question whether cannabis is useful or not. That question can only be answered once it is legalized and more research is done. Then, and only then, can we know what it is useful for.”

You can read more in-depth coverage on this issue from LA weekly here.

The full paper published on the topic by the California Medical Association can be viewed here (PDF).

Post updated to correct “Attorney Generals” [sic] to “US Attorneys”

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform