Calif. Medical Association Backs Legalizing Pot

Physicians want pot brought into the light
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 17, 2011 12:47 AM CDT
Updated Oct 17, 2011 4:00 AM CDT
Medical marijuana plant grow in Oakland, Calif.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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(Newser) – The California Medical Association has thrown down the marijuana gauntlet by officially supporting the legalization of pot. The move comes just a week after the feds warned several medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to close up. Organization members want pot legalized and regulated so the drug can be more carefully studied and tested, reports ABC News. The organization is the first state medical association in the nation to take such a position, but it "won't be the last," declared CMA president-elect Dr. James T. Hay. "This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds. As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about the benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis so that we can provide the best care possible to our patients.”

The board of trustees of the association, which represents the largest number of physicians in the state, unanimously passed the resolution. It was informed by a "white paper concluding physicians should have access to better research, which is not possible under the current policy," said a CMA statement. Marijuana's current classification as a Schedule 1 drug severely limits its use in testing. Current scientific literature is scarce, cannabis dosage isn't standardized, and side effects haven't been explored. In addition, "physicians are in an incredibly difficult legal position," say Hay, because California has "decriminalized marijuana, yet it’s still illegal on a federal level."

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