California Medical Association wants marijuana legalized
October 15, 2011
California’s largest doctor’ group is calling for the legalization of marijuana despite its belief that there may be only questionable medical value. [LA Times]
Trustees of the California Medical Association., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim on Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug.
Dr. Donald Lyman, the Sacramento physician who wrote the group’s new policy, attributed the shift to growing frustration over California’s medical marijuana law, which permits cannabis use with a doctor’s recommendation. That, he said, has created an untenable situation for physicians: deciding whether to give patients a substance that is illegal under federal law.
“It’s an uncomfortable position for doctors,” Lyman said. “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.”
The organization’s announcement provoked some angry response.
“I wonder what they’re smoking,” said John Lovell, spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Association. “Given everything that we know about the physiological impacts of marijuana — how it affects young brains, the number of accidents associated with driving under the influence — it’s just an unbelievably irresponsible position.”
In recent weeks, the Obama administration has begun cracking down on California’s medical marijuana industry, threatening to prosecute landlords who rent buildings to pot dispensaries.