California’s Largest Physician Group Calls for Full Legalization

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 17, 2011

    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”

    51 Responses to “California’s Largest Physician Group Calls for Full Legalization”

    1. Ben says:

      The debate as to the legalization of marijuana should be based upon its own merits.

      The likelihood of it becoming more commonly used due to legalization would imply that prohibition has impacted its use… That argument does not hold water.

      The concerns about how it affects driving, while logical and valid, should only affect THE REGULATIONS OF IT, same as with alcohol. It should not remain illegal simply because people fear its effect on driving.

      An adult man or woman at their own place, relaxing with a glass of wine, or a joint, and NOT about to go driving should be legal.

      It is time for serious discussion on legalization, all the money that could be made on it is funneled into the hands of the cartels in Mexico, where the REAL DRUG WAR zone is.

      It is time for logical and rational discussion, and not propaganda like this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028346/

    2. Ben says:

      Make your voice heard.

      I just submitted this to the OPINION section of my local paper:

      -should LEGALIZED and regulated as wine is:
      age requirement to consume, and illegal to drive while affected
      -prohibition has caused many of the same issues which the American people avoided when we repealed the prohibition of alcohol.
      the ‘drug war’ has yielded no reduction in the trafficking/availability/use of marijuana
      has funneled ALL the revenue into the hands of the cartels in Mexico where the REAL DRUG WARS take place
      has hampered this nation’s financial recovery as it is well documented that cannibus is California’s number one cash crop.

      Mexico is in a civil war due to the cartels being so well financed by the illicit marijuana trade.

      The Tommy-gunners of the early part of this century all but went away over night upon the repealing of the prohibition of alcohol.

      And, here is this as well, from the California Medical Association,
      representing more than 35,000 physicians statewide and is the largest industry group for doctors in the state:


      Policy Recommendation includes:
      – Regulate recreational cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.
      – Tax cannabis
      – Facilitate dissemination of risks and benefits of cannabis use.

      Its time for SERIOUS and LOGICAL discussion on cannibus,
      and not biased uninformed concepts and laws propagated by nonsense like this:

    3. TheOracle says:

      See if you can get those fuckers from the U.N. to attend this conference in November, and get them to clear the way for legalization. Doctors talking to international doctors. Law enforcement talking to international law enforcement. Are the previous heads of state of Latin American countries who have called for legalization once they were out of office going to attend to put on the pressure to clear the way for the U.S. and any other country (NL, Jamaica) to legalize?

    4. Mark says:

      Good news, but do they have any “clout”?

    5. Cat Cassie says:

      Still 51% oppose legalization and 46% support it. Not good enough.

    6. rev.sleezy says:

      Holy Smokes. This is great news to the choir. What we need is Washington to wake up and move on. The federal prohibition of marijuana is a lost battle. 30 Million Americans have inhaled the smoke of a dry flower ember over the last year. Time to listen to what the medical community is saying and respecting their recommendations. Du Pont is a stooge. He will say anything just like Ainslinger. Blessings to everyone regardless of your faith or belief. Go in peace.

    7. WCE says:

      The problem with Marijuana legalization is everyone that smokes is a pushover. Everyone is trying to go the legitimate route through the courts and appeals and petitions. It is not going to work. Look at all the attention the occupy wall street movement has gotten. Spread throughout the country, on news stations in every city. People that care about legalizing marijuana need to mobilize off the internet and spread the word in the cities. Bring attention to the general public of the atrocities of the government that are blocking marijuana reform. I guarantee that if five to ten thousand people start peacefully protesting in the top ten metropolitan areas in the US, not only will it bring attention to the prejudice of the US government on this topic, but also inform a much larger portion of the people through media outlets covering such a demonstration. The people do have the power in America, but it is not in the courtrooms, it is through their voice and their numbers. By that I don’t mean a number of names on a paper…Organize and demonstrate. People have done this in the past and it has a proven track record of bringing attention to the topic. Be HEARD!

    8. JDubs says:

      Daps to the Docs!!

      As strong as the push has become for full legalization, it just got a very significant reinforcement! MDs, being one of the most highly respected professions around, have just given their highly educated Middle Finger to our Federal govt, and the UN.

      As a healthcare professional myself, I can speak to the considerable courage that it takes to openly endorse something still considered taboo in most professional circles.

      I Throw My Middle Finger Up to the Government With Them!!

    9. Ben says:

      That is the best news I have stumbled across in some time – thanks NORML.

      I have been linking the whitepaper by the doctors in less ‘biased’ news sources, attempting to get attention of those who’s minds are open but virtually uninformed and ‘inexperienced’ on the topic.

      Puff puff pass it along:


    10. Ben says:

      Its about fucking time.

      DAMN it is finally good to see some sense in the discussion of this topic.

      The medical elite, and not fringe oddballs –
      “more than 35,000 physicians statewide”

      “…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.”

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