Sunday, November 6, 2011

California Physicans Call for Regulation and Legalization of Medical Marijuana

It would be an understatement to call Legalization a hot topic, particularly so after Gallup found majority support for the first time in poll history. I had the privilege of representing UC Davis at the California Medical Association (CMA) 2011 House of Delegates this past October, where the CMA Board of Trustees unveiled adoption of official policy that recommends legalization and regulation of cannabis. The new policy came as a result of a CMA Legalization and Taxation of Marijuana Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) report that put forth several recommendations:

  • “Reschedule” medical cannabis in order to encourage research lending to responsible regulation. 
  • Regulate recreational cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco. 
  • Tax cannabis 
  • Facilitate dissemination of risks and benefits of cannabis use. 
  • Refer for national action.
The medical community has been put in a difficult situation in the pot debate, as California has recognized it as a 'decriminalized medical benefit' yet the substance remains illegal at the federal level. Yet, there is insufficient evidence to truly assess the drug's effectiveness. To be sure, cannabis is strictly classified as a Schedule I substance, which severely deprives current literature of any assessment of dosage, benefit, or risk. As such, physicians are calling for rescheduling of the drug in order to allow for expanded research.

Advocates equate this to legalization, but CMA urges sustained regulation and control similar to that found with alcohol and tobacco. Given the contentious nature of the topic, CMA has taken a bold stance on the topic and should be commended. Creating a rational scope of debate at both the state and federal levels should finally foster an adult conversation to move towards a thoughtful solution.

Browse through the CMA white paper here:  
Cannabis and the Regulatory Void, Background Paper and Recommendations