The state’s largest doctor group questions the medical value of marijuana but says it’s time for it to be legal and regulated like alcohol and tobacco, reports the Los Angeles Times. The group’s spokeswoman claims it is the first major medical association in the country to call for the drug’s legalization.
The federal government considers cannabis a drug with no medical use. The CMA wants the White House to reclassify it to help promote further research on its medical potential. Earlier this year, the Obama administration turned down a request to reclassify marijuana. That decision is being appealed in federal court.
Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento physician who wrote the group’s latest policy, called current laws a “failed public health policy.”
Dr. Lyman tells the newspaper that physicians are increasingly frustrated by being put in the uncomfortable position of having to decide whether to recommend a drug that’s illegal under federal law.
“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” Dr. Lyman said. “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.”
The group immediately came under fire from the California Police Chiefs Association as well as from other doctors, who qualified the move as irresponsible.
The CMA acknowledges some potential health risk associated with marijuana use and proposes that it be regulated similarly to alcohol and tobacco. But the group says the consequences of criminalization outweigh the dangers.
The CMA represents more than 35,000 California physicians across the state.