Advocates for the legalization of marijuana got a new, unprecedented member of their ranks: the California Medical Association. They adopted an official policy that recommends the legalization and regulation of cannabis.
They are the largest physician group in California.
California recently decriminalized marijuana in the state, making it possible for doctors to recommend the drug to their patients.
Dr. James Hay, the president-elect of CMA, said that existing laws put doctors in an uncomfortable position.
“[California] Decriminalized medical use yet if a physician recommends it to a patient we are violating federal law. Taking a risk,” Hay told ABC News.
At the heart of the group’s issue is regulation. As it stands, according to a statement put out by CMA, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, which means that study and research of the drug is limited.
“Think it ought to be regulated, better controlled, no control over what’s in marijuana. If we don’t know what’s in it, we can’t do any kind of scientific evaluation,” Hay said.
Though the group references studies done by organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance and the National Institute of Health, spokeswoman Molly Wheedn said that, to her knowledge, no other medical organizations were consulted in the formation of the policy.
Yet even without the support of other groups, Hay says that, to not legalize marijuana would hurt patients more than help them.
“I’m concerned that it has driven underground substance that may have both benefits and harms that we don’t know enough about. It’s made protecting public health more difficult than it [existing laws] was made to do,” Hay said.
CMA becomes the first statewide medical association to adopt this official position.