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article imageCalifornia Medical Association wants marijuana legalized

By Kim I. Hartman     Oct 18, 2011 in Health
Anaheim - The California Medical Association has become the first statewide medical authority to unanimously adopt an official policy that recommends the legalization and regulation of cannabis.
Advocates for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana have been joined by the California Medical Association (CMA) in requesting the federal government reclassify marijuana from its current status as a Schedule 1 drug, where it's considered to have no medical value along with drugs like heroin, peyote, and LSD.
That classification as a Schedule 1 drug currently restricts the organizations ability to research and study cannabis, said the CMA, who have based their decision on scientific and medical grounds.
CMA Board Chair Paul Phinney, M.D., said in order for adequate studies to take place, "legalization and regulation is necessary for the medical doctors to fully understand the benefits and risks of medical cannabis."
“We need to regulate cannabis so that we know what we’re recommending to our patients,” says Dr. Phinney. “Currently, medical and recreational cannabis have no mandatory labeling standards of concentration or purity. First, we’ve got to legalize it so that we can properly study and regulate it.”
California began its battle to legalize marijuana with the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, which “ensured that seriously ill Californians would have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person‟s health would benefit from the use of marijuana, and to ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction."
Under current state law, California physician are only allowed to recommend medical cannabis to patients in need of the drug. CMA President James T. Hay, M.D., said, “California decriminalized marijuana in 2006, yet it’s still illegal on a federal level. That puts physicians in an incredibly difficult legal position, since we’re the ones ultimately recommending the drug.”
John Lovell, spokesman for the California Police Chief Association said their group opposes the new policy adopted by the CMA. "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," Lovell told the LA Times. "I wonder what they are smoking," he asked.
Dustin Corcoran, CMA Chief Executive Officer told Medical News Today, the decision to adopt the policy [pdf] followed months of research by the medical association, and "will only further their ability as medical doctors to properly treat their patients."
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