With the Obama administration threatening to seize medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the state, the California Medical Association voted Friday to support the decriminalization of marijuana. The association, the state’s largest physician organization, originally opposed California’s 15-year-old medical marijuana initiative.
The group continues to be skeptical of the medical value of marijuana, according to a Los Angeles Times report, but the CMA is calling for medical testing and for marijuana to be regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.
The organization’s president said in a statement: “CMA may be the first organization of its kind to take this position, but we won’t be the last. This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds.”
A spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Association was quoted by The Times as saying in response to the decision, “I wonder what they’re smoking.” —PZS
California Medical Association:
“CMA may be the first organization of its kind to take this position, but we won’t be the last. This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific grounds,” said James T. Hay, M.D., CMA President-Elect. “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.”
CMA’s Board of Trustees, a representative body of physician delegations across the state, adopted the policy without objection.
The federal government currently lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug. That classification restricts the research and ability to study the substance. Part of the policy adopted by CMA emphasizes that the drug should be rescheduled in addition to being legalized.
Alejandro Forero Cuervo (CC-BY)