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California Medical Association Says Legalize and Regulate Marijuana

CMA Doctors say this should be legalized (photo: Thomas Hawk)

The California Medical Association, the largest physician group in California, has recently declared it will now be their official policy that marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. From the LA Times:

The state’s largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.

Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday.

You can find the CMA press release here on their website along with the official white paper the organization used as a basis for their policy change. From the white paper:

[E]ven with regard to cannabis used recreationally, there is a need for oversight and quality control, just as there is with alcohol, tobacco, and food products.  Such oversight and quality control, aimed at protecting personal and public health, can be accomplished with legalization and regulation at both the federal and state levels.  Thus far, the criminalization of cannabis has proven to be a failed public health policy for several reasons, including:
a) The diversion of limited economic resources to penal system costs and away from other more socially desirable uses such as funding health care, education, transportation, etc.
b) The social destruction of family units when cannabis users are incarcerated, rather than offered treatment and other social assistance;
c) The disparate impacts that drug law enforcement practices have on communities of color
d) The continued demand for cannabis nationally, which supports violent drug cartels from Mexico and other international sources
e) The failure to decrease national and international supplies of cannabis from criminal and unregulated sources
f) The failure of the federal government?s limited actions through the “War on Drugs” in mitigating substance abuse and addiction.

[…]

So what shifts in public policy could protect public health and benefit personal health?  In order to fully evaluate and regulate cannabis, it should be legalized and decriminalized.

This is an important development for helping to advance the idea that ending the prohibition against cannabis needs to be subject to a legitimate policy debate. For marijuana to be legalized people need to stop thinking of prohibition as some unchangeable fact of life and start thinking of it as another government policy that can be amended, changed or reversed depending on what is best for society. The CMA is calling for the issue to be examined like any other public health issue with the pro’s and con’s weighted against each other.

I hope having one of the country’s largest physician groups come out in support of legalizing and regulating marijuana will encourage other medical groups, civil rights groups, and political groups to examine the issue and also come to the clear conclusion that the prohibition against marijuana is a public policy failure.

CommunityJust Say Now

California Medical Association Says Legalize and Regulate Marijuana

The California Medical Association, the largest physician group in California, has recently declared it will now be their official policy that marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. From the LA Times:

The state’s largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.

Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday.

You can find the CMA press release here on their website along with the official white paper the organization used as a basis for their policy change. From the white paper:

[E]ven with regard to cannabis used recreationally, there is a need for oversight and quality control, just as there is with alcohol, tobacco, and food products.  Such oversight and quality control, aimed at protecting personal and public health, can be accomplished with legalization and regulation at both the federal and state levels.  Thus far, the criminalization of cannabis has proven to be a failed public health policy for several reasons, including:
a) The diversion of limited economic resources to penal system costs and away from other more socially desirable uses such as funding health care, education, transportation, etc.
b) The social destruction of family units when cannabis users are incarcerated, rather than offered treatment and other social assistance;
c) The disparate impacts that drug law enforcement practices have on communities of color
d) The continued demand for cannabis nationally, which supports violent drug cartels from Mexico and other international sources
e) The failure to decrease national and international supplies of cannabis from criminal and unregulated sources
f) The failure of the federal government?s limited actions through the “War on Drugs” in mitigating substance abuse and addiction.

[…]

So what shifts in public policy could protect public health and benefit personal health?  In order to fully evaluate and regulate cannabis, it should be legalized and decriminalized.

This is an important development for helping to advance the idea that ending the prohibition against cannabis needs to be subject to a legitimate policy debate. For marijuana to be legalized people need to stop thinking of prohibition as some unchangeable fact of life and start thinking of it as another government policy that can be amended, changed or reversed depending on what is best for society. The CMA is calling for the issue to be examined like any other public health issue with the pro’s and con’s weighted against each other.

I hope having one of the country’s largest physician groups come out in support of legalizing and regulating marijuana will encourage other medical groups, civil rights groups, and political groups to examine the issue and also come to the clear conclusion that the prohibition against marijuana is a public policy failure.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com