The new policy was adopted unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the largest physician group in California – the first state medical association to take this stance. The CMA represents more than 35,000 California physicians across the state. CMA President James Hay explains the decision was reached after a CMA whitepaper concluded that sufficient research is not possible under the current restrictions.
Hay: “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. 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.”
Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of California since 1996, but doctors recommending ‘pot’ are put in a tough position, as this remains a violation of existing federal laws. The Classification of Schedule I drug also restricts research and further study of cannabis, leading to situation where doctors have little knowledge of the medicine they’re prescribing.
CMA Board Chair Paul Phinney: “Medical and recreational cannabis have no mandatory labeling standards of concentration or purity. First, we’ve got to legalize it, so that we can properly study and regulate it.”
Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, said that marijuana policy should not be solely in the hands of the government: “Drug use is a health issue and for too long we have let law enforcement and federal bureaucrats decide policy. CMA is saying let’s treat medical marijuana as a health issue.”