WebMD Poll: Medical Community Backs Legalizing Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 4, 2014

    An estimated 70 percent of physicians acknowledge the therapeutic qualities of cannabis and over half believe that the plant should also be legal for medical purposes, according to survey data released this week by WebMD/Medscape.

    Sixty-nine percent of respondents say that cannabis can help in the treatment of specific diseases and 67 percent say that the plant should be available as a legal therapeutic option for patients.

    Oncologists and hematologists were most likely to express support for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, with 82 percent of those surveyed endorsing the plant’s therapeutic use. Rheumatologists (54 percent) were least likely to say the cannabis provides therapeutic benefits.

    Over 1,500 physicians representing more than 12 specialty areas participated in the survey which possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.

    16 responses to “WebMD Poll: Medical Community Backs Legalizing Cannabis”

    1. Doug Houge says:

      Yes ORACLE. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (Democrat as swipe)

    2. Judy says:

      @Julian – You are so right on! The property of cannabis that makes it desireable for recreation is, in and of itself, medicinal in it’s effects! It is this property that has helped so many of us to lead a happier and less stressed out life in this increasingly stressful world.

      Seriously, there is at least a 50/50 chance that, at some time during my life, I would’ve killed myself if not for cannabis.

    3. TheOracle says:

      Well, thank you very much to the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, newspaper Patriot News for addressing my earlier question in this thread as to when it comes to marijuana who the biggest asshole in the Commonwealth is.

      If interested, you should really see the original article with all the pictures and graphics.

      Here’s an article from 4/7/2014.


      Medical marijuana still scares most high profile Pa. politicians despite massive poll popularity

      Caption for a picture:

      Scott Perry says he supports the use of medical marijuana
      U.S. Rep Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, tells constituents at a Lemoyne town hall meeting last month that he’s drafting legislation to legalize medical marijuana. Supporters of Anna Knecht, an local 11-year-old with seizures, are there calling for legalized medical pot and for Perry to support it. (Mark Pynes | mpynes@pennlive.com)

      Reporter & relevant information:

      Robert J. Vickers | rvickers@pennlive.com By Robert J. Vickers | rvickers@pennlive.com
      Email the author | Follow on Twitter
      on April 07, 2014 at 6:00 AM, updated April 07, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      Text of the article:

      When U.S. Rep. Scott Perry told constituents last month that he favored legalizing marijuana for medical purposes he became the highest-ranking elected Pennsylvania Republican to support the once-controversial position.

      The bold, counterintuitive stance by the conservative York County lawmaker has helped recast the conversation about pot from being strictly about law enforcement. For many now, it is a matter of health and compassion.

      “I am a proponent of medical marijuana,” Perry declared in the March 10, Lemoyne town hall.

      And “I am willing to put my name on a bill,” he added later, referring to the work he’d already undertaken to draft federal legislation making pot legal for medical use only.

      Franklin and Marshall College pollster Terry Madonna said having a congressman elected by grassroots conservatives shift on medical marijuana is significant.

      “This is sort of a recognition that there is a sea change underway when it comes to medical marijuana,” Madonna said. “Every poll shows overwhelming support. Even a majority of Republicans support it.”

      Still, Perry’s move hasn’t affected the position of other high-ranking commonwealth Republicans, who remain uncomfortable with the subject.

      As recently as Friday Gov. Tom Corbett, a former state attorney general, reiterated his unwillingness to legalize medical marijuana, saying he still wouldn’t do it even if his toddler grandson Liam needed cannabis to treat a debilitating illness.

      Corbett, an incumbent Republican running for re-election this year, said any changes to drug laws should come at the federal level.

      Former Gov. Tom Ridge, another old school law-and-order Republican, passed on addressing the topic through a spokesman.

      And of the 14 Republicans representing Pennsylvania in the U.S. House and Senate, Perry is the lone lawmaker willing to legalize medicinal marijuana.

      Pat Toomey

      View full size

      U.S. Senator Pat Toomey speaks to the 2014 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference at the Raddison Hotel Friday afternoon.

      Mark Pynes | mpynes@pennlive.com

      U.S. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh, has not taken a position, according to spokesman.

      A small, but influential faction made up of congressmen Lou Barletta, Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach, and Glenn Thompson have expressed a willingness to explore a change to federal drug laws.

      Barletta, a former Hazleton mayor, was wary of the ill effects of pot, but said he was open to receive more information.

      “I would like to learn more from the medical community about uses, benefits and controls involved,” he said. “If people can be helped safely, it ought to be an option.”

      Gerlach, of Chester County, wouldn’t resist an effort in Congress to regulate marijuana for safe medical treatments prescribed by a doctor.

      “I’d be willing to keep an open mind and listen to what medical researchers have to say,” he said. “But I’ll reserve final judgment until a bill comes to the House floor for a vote.”

      Dent, of Lehigh County, said he was aware of the shift in public opinion surveys, such as last month’s Quinnipiac Poll that showed 85 percent of Pennsylvanian’s favor legalizing medical marijuana.

      But like Barletta and Gerlach, he wants to hear evidence from the medical community before endorsing changes to existing laws.

      “I’m open to a conversation about medical marijuana, but I’m not a physician, nor a pharmacologist, so I’m a little bit hesitant at this point to legislate on this particular issue,” he said.

      Thompson, a licensed nursing home administrator from Centre County, warned of the potential for abuse, but also remained open to medicinal legalization.

      “As a health care professional, I believe that treatments are best determined by a patient and his or her own doctor,” Thompson said in a statement. “But, as other states have seen, as with any pharmaceutical, there is always the potential for abuse.”

      The rest of the commonwealth’s Republican congressional delegation – Mike Fitzpatrick of Bucks County, Tom Marino of County, Tim Murphy of Lycoming County, Joe Pitts of Chester County, and Keith Rothfus of Allegheny County – did not respond to repeated inquiries on the subject.

      Blair County U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster is the most prominent among the Pennsylvania members of Congress who avoided taking a position on legalizing medical marijuana. Numerous phone and email attempts to reach the powerful chairman of the House transportation committee went unanswered over three weeks.

      U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler County, also did not respond to numerous information requests, but Saturday said he had “no position” on legalizing medical marijuana when approached after addressing the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in East Pennsboro Twp.

      GOP Chester County Congressman Pat Meehan could not be reached for comment.

      The reluctance to change marijuana laws is not exclusive to Republicans.

      U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Scranton, acknowledged the growing public interest in utilizing marijuana for medical purposes, but was still a bit skittish when asked about the subject last week.bo

      “I don’t think I have [taken a position], but I think I need to,” Casey told Pennlive. “It is an issue that’s coming in front of us [Congress] a lot more and at some point in the not too distant future I think we’ll be voting on it.”

      A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bob Brady said the powerful Philadelphia Democrat has also not taken a position on the issue.

      However, the remaining Democrats in the commonwealth congressional delegation – 2014 gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz, Philadelphia’s Chaka Fattah, Allegheny County’s Mike Doyle, and Lackawanna County’s Matt Cartwright – embrace legalization.

      “I, and the rest of the Pennsylvania Democratic delegation in the House are all in support of legal use of medical marijuana as long as it is used for a specific list of diagnoses, such as cancer, seizure disorders, and other such conditions,” Cartwright said in a statement – apparently unaware of Brady’s non-position.

      Former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who as recently as last week expressed support for efforts to legalize pot in Pennsylvania, stands with the pro-medical marijuana contingent of the state’s congressional delegation.

      Rendell did not participate in a pro medical marijuana rally at the State Capital last week, but backed the legalization push for the state.

      “Please add my voice to those who favor the immediate legalization of marijuana for medical use for those who have a doctor’s prescription,” he said in a statement.

      “As to outright legalization, I think possession of small amounts should immediately be decriminalized to a summary fine offense,” Rendell added. “We should study the results of the new Colorado and Washington laws before we consider complete legalization.”

      He was referring to recent full legalization and regulation of pot in Colorado and Washington. Other states – including neighbors Maryland, New Jersey, and New York – are exploring legalization proposals.

      The issue entered the commonwealth’s politically mainstream after two Democrats and one Republican argued publicly for legalization.

      Former state Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger made full decriminalization – and the revenues it would bring the state – the centerpiece of his 2014 Democratic gubernatorial campaign before bowing out last month.

      Montgomery County state Sen. Daylin Leach has long proposed medical legalization in the commonwealth.


      View full size

      Christine Brann (left) of Derry Twp. and Dina Kenny of Bethlehem, Pa. (center) testify before the Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 on legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

      PennLive Photo by John L. Micek

      And state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, became the first staunch conservative state lawmaker to back the change when he joined Leach’s 2013 legalization proposal as a co-sponsor.

      But neither Leach and Hanger, nor Folmer and Perry have drawn other prominent elected commonwealth Republicans to advocate legalization. And a hardcore few in the GOP remain resolute in their opposition.

      Among them are former U.S. Sen. and 2012 GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum.

      Despite scores of accounts about children whose parents’ claim need pot to ease chronic crippling seizures, and the well-documented struggles he’s faced with his daughter Bella’s life-threatening genetic disorder, Santorum has not waivered in his opposition.

      Asked Friday about his position, during an appearance at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, Santorum said it has not changed.

      “No, same position,” said Santorum, who is mulling another bid for president in 2016. “I oppose it.”

      Link/Source: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/04/medical_marijuana_still_scares.html

      There is a long laundry list of contenders from Pennsylvania for the biggest prohibitionist asshole IN the Commonwealth, meaning in state government. This article makes me ask a similar question about those from Pennsylvania serving in federal government. Since some of our politicians are in DC so then the question for them is: Who is the biggest asshole FROM the Commonwealth serving in DC claiming to represent the people of Pennsylvania, who overwhelmingly support legal medical marijuana?

    4. lockedoutoftheshed says:

      …thank you judy.. my thoughts exactly! I can think of two times in my life that if it were not for the calming and open thinking benefits of cannabis, I may have ,in my deepest frustration,done something irreversibly stupid.it has been a GREAT benefit in my life.now with drug testing to keep a good job,i hang on the edge waiting and hoping to resume a reasonable life with the goodness of cannabis.

    5. chris says:

      @ TheOracle,
      Political cannabis……..who needs Dr’s when we all know to be a Dr. one must first start out as a politician……
      Ive been saying this same thing over and over now for years……I was raised we are all inocent til proven guilty , then I grew up and seen that was nothing more then hogwash.

      our politicians who live and make a great life for themselves need to realize that the common folks cant afford to take lavish trips or drink fine wines or have a bottle of the best scotch waiting at our beck and call, so we have all settled for a simpler way of life that includes cannabis.
      Laws are written to protect , but when the only one who is in danger is the consumer its no longer protection…..
      being scared of a cannabis user is like being scared of the shutters opening and closing on your house during a storm,…not sure whats causing it so you just make up that its a monster outside , then get a group together to hunt down a monster that never was…….but make everyone believe there is a monster on the loose , then demand more money to eleminate something made up , and then show everyone you arrested to the public and tell them that they had something to do with it……then the public believes they are being protected from something that never was……..
      politicians…..it wont be long and the yellow brik road is going to lead the masses to see that your feet are hanging down below the curtain…..lies lies lies………didnt yor mothers ever teach what happends to liars..

      As always
      thanks for reading

    6. Robert says:

      Do these same clinicians want cannabis to be OTC (Over-the-Counter) or Rx only? Is one going to have to go to the doctor for permission (aka prescription) to obtain cannabis? In the same way one had to pay a Dr. for “permission” to drink alcohol during prohibition?

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