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California Medical Association Urges Marijuana Legalization


The California Medical Association (CMA) has called for the legalization of marijuana, although it acknowledges the drug does have some health risks. At its annual meeting on Friday, the group, which represents more than 35,000 doctors, adopted the policy. It is the first major medical organization to urge marijuana legalization, the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to Dr. Donald Lyman, who wrote the policy, his group’s members are frustrated by the state’s medical marijuana law, which allows a patient to use marijuana if he or she has a doctor’s recommendation. Dr. Lyman said many doctors are uncomfortable deciding whether to recommend a drug that is illegal under federal law.

The CMA has said marijuana has few proven health benefits, and notes it wants the Obama Administration to legalize the drug to encourage more research on its medical potential. The group recommends the drug be regulated in a fashion similar to tobacco and alcohol.

In a statement, the CMA says it advocates for the regulation of medical marijuana “to allow for wider clinical research, accountable and quality controlled production of the substance and proper public awareness.” The group says it is also recommending that recreational marijuana be legalized so states can regulate it for purity and safety.

John Lovell, spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Association, responded, “Given everything that we know about the physiological impacts of marijuana — how it affects young brains, the number of accidents associated with driving under the influence — it’s just an unbelievably irresponsible position.”

In July, the U.S. Justice Department announced that medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers located in states with medical marijuana laws are not immune from prosecution for violation of federal drug and money-laundering laws. Currently the medical use of marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

9 Responses to this article

  1. Ken Wolski / October 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    The CMA’s action is similar to a recent action in New Jersey where the Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ) passed a resolution of support for A4252, which “Decriminalizes possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana” in New Jersey

    Jim Miller, co-founder and President of CMMNJ said:
    “I believe that CMMNJ should support A4252 because it will provide a level of support for thousands of sick, disabled, and dying patients which New Jersey’s medical marijuana law will not provide by virtue of their statuary exclusion.”

    Since CMMNJ was founded, Board members of this organization have taken a strictly neutral stance on the issue of broader legalization of marijuana and/or drugs in general. The mission of CMMNJ has been to educate the public about the medical benefits of marijuana.

    At this time the Board of CMMNJ has endorsed Assembly Bill A4252 which decriminalizes possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana in New Jersey. The bill currently has seventeen sponsors led by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-25) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-15).

    CMMNJ has taken this action for these reasons:
    1.) Nearly two years have passed since the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law, yet not a single patient has received legal medical marijuana; and,
    2.) Patients continue to be arrested and imprisoned in this state for using medical marijuana illegally to treat their medical conditions; and,
    3.) Countless patients who could benefit from medical marijuana are currently disqualified from participating in New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) and will continue to be disqualified for the foreseeable future.

  2. Marcia / October 22, 2011 at 3:28 am

    History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug user is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. We’ve dumped a trillion dollars into the war on drugs these past 40 years. We have literally spent our way into a bigger problem than ever. The War on Drugs is now just a full blown, bloody war. Meanwhile we teach our kids from the time they’re babies, that drugs (like Ritalin) fix things, and bombard them with drug commercials on every TV, radio station, billboard, magazine ad, bus stop and anywhere else the scum bag Pharmaceutical Industry can exploit both innocent children and uninformed adults. Then when they get addicted, we either charge them up-the-you-know-what for rehab that usually doesn’t work very well, put them on a different drug and call ‘em fixed, or throw them in prison, or if they’re really lucky, multiples of each. Yet another scumbag – The Privatized and profiteering Mass Incarceration Industry making money hand over fist – $50,000 a pop in CA -through exploiting disease camouflaged as criminal activity for possession ONLY – no victim and no violence – just possession. We have 2 million people in prison in The U.S., which translates to 25% of the worlds incarcerated. More than half of these prisoners are in for drug possession charges or violations stemming from them. These people are eventually released with no rehabilitation and now fairly unemployable too, because now they’re a drug addict with a Felony on their record. Or, in many cases, not a drug addict to begin with – just a recreational user who is now a felon. Isn’t this crazy?? It’s pretty clear at this point that prohibition isn’t working so how about taking all that money and put it into real rehab for real addicts, that is long enough to work rather than the not-long-enough rehab stint, because the other profiteering scum ball – the Insurance Industry – won’t actually cover something that might work – like time. See any pattern here? Lots of scum making money off a human beings plight, isn’t there? Legalizing drugs is very likely the answer. Cannabis is the obvious first step and my favorite saying these days is “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand”

  3. Avatar of Richard P Steeb
    Richard P Steeb / October 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    The prohibition of Earth’s most widely beneficial plant species is a crime against humanity. It shall NOT stand.

  4. doogiem / October 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    John – Making something unlawful will not tame certain people’s limbic systems and make addiction go away. Watch Ken Burns’ recent documentary! What’s “crazy” is that history (wo/mankind) repeats itself. Prohibition of certain substances — as well as gambling, prostitution, abortion — is crazy. Bad public health policy. Period. (Was it a “dumb idea” for CA to legalize alcohol in 1933 after a dozen years of prohibition? Was North Carolina smarter by refusing to legalize the sale of alcohol until the 1960s)? Congress can say that pot is illegal just as the pope (spokesman for god) can say that something is against church law. As long as history repeats itself, so will I: Bad public health policy…Making something unlawful will not make addiction go away…

  5. Fred C / October 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

    John Lovells position is correct, but why is he not advocating for making alcohol illegal, which causes more brain damage in the young and is responsible for about a thousand times as many accidents?

  6. John Costas / October 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Leave it to CA to come up with another dumb idea. Alcohol and Tobacco are enough of a problem, lets legalize Marijuana…crazy. Maybe those doctors need to go to a Frug treatment center to see the kids addicted to the drugs they want to legalize.

  7. chris / October 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    By that logic everything should be legal including prescription drugs and stealing. Just because people do illegal things doesn’t mean they should be legalized. Making marijuana legal will make increase use which will make addiction increase. Alcohol and tobacco have the highest addiction numbers because they are the most used because they are legal. Addiction is a horrible disease that affects individuals and families and legalizing more and more drugs will just lead to more addiction. Be careful what you wish for.

  8. Marcia / October 22, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Watch a documentary on how well alcohol prohibition went, then, not only will you have the answer to your question, but hopefully you will also connect the dots to why “The War on Drugs” is nothing more than a money making scam, as was alcohol prohibition.

  9. Marcia / October 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Read this story
    Denise and Gary are friends of mine. My own son struggled with addiction that went from Norco after a surgery at age 17 to heroin within two years. He’s 23 today and one of the lucky ones, no longer addicted and thank god, not a Jeff. Still, he’s a felon who will pay the price of addiction for the rest of his life. And you know there are tens of thousands of Jeff’s, in every corner of the country. WE ARE SICK OF HAVING OUR KIDS TREATED LIKE CRIMINALS OVER F’G DRUGS in the name of profit. That’s what happens because of them being illegal. It’s not fixing anything; it’s just making money for the greedy scum we all have to live with.
    I know you counselors are trying but it’s a war that will not be won because there’s too much money to be made from it and the countless lives already lost is sickening. So – no this is not dumb. You have your head in the sand. When I look at the perpetuation of the war on drugs here in the US, I see on one side the greed of pharmaceutical corporations, the legal system, the insurance industry, the prison industrial complex, the power of the prison guards union and on the other, millions of people who know better.

    But the issue is not high enough on their agenda to overcome the money and influence of those institutions that benefit from it.

    Don’t you ever stop to ask yourself why it seems to be getting worse instead of better? Money. Might not be the case for you, but it’s still the answer.

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