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Oct 16 2011

California Medical Association Calls for Legalization of Marijuana

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California medical marijuana dispensary

Well, marijuana within the existing California law is already legal – more or less.
The state’s largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.

Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday.

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,” he 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 CMA’s new stance appears to have as much to do with politics as science. The group has rejected one of the main arguments of medical marijuana advocates, declaring that the substance has few proven health benefits and comparing it to a “folk remedy.”

The group acknowledges some health risk associated with marijuana use and proposes that it be regulated along the lines of alcohol and tobacco. But it says the consequences of criminalization outweigh the hazards.

Lyman says current laws have “proven to be a failed public health policy.” He cited increased prison costs, the effect on families when marijuana users are imprisoned and racial inequalities in drug-sentencing cases.

It seems the California Medical Association, like the California Dental Association have jumped the shark with regard with being in touch with their own members. Both organizations have been taken over by the LEFT and this, like other policy pronouncements are as much left-wing politics as science.

I think the CMA will lose quite a few members after this little exercise.

The organization’s announcement provoked some angry response.

“I wonder what they’re smoking,” said John Lovell, spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Assn. “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.”

The CMA’s view is also controversial in the medical community.

Dr. Robert DuPont, an M.D. and professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School, said the association’s call for legalization showed “a reckless disregard of the public health. I think it’s going to lead to more use, and that, to me, is a public health concern. I’m not sure they’ve thought through what the implications of legalization would be.”

California law making personal possession of marijuana an infraction with a ticket fine of $100 is already not enforced from what I can see on the Venice, California strand every Saturday morning where I run. Medical marijuana dispensaries hawk their wares to the Venice Beach goers without regard to proper medical practice.

But, legalize it?

So, that every store front on the beach is stoking “stoned” out beachgoers – come on now. California society does not need more intoxication, “high” drivers or children developing bad habits.

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